Stocks Power Higher Midday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are powering higher Monday as the market claws back some of its massive losses last week, when it slumped into a 'correction' for the first time in two years. The Dow Jones industrials were up more than 400 points. Technology companies and banks, some of the biggest winners on the market over the past year, are up the most. European markets are also higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500, the benchmark for many index funds, gained 37 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,656 as of 1:40 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow rose 424 points, or 1.8 percent, to 24,615. The Nasdaq composite climbed 98 points, or 1.4 percent, to 6,973. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,490.

It took just nine days for stocks to plunge 10 percent from their latest peak, which was reached on January 26. A drop of that size is known on Wall Street as a market "correction." According to LPL Financial, it was the swiftest move from a record high to a correction in the history of the S&P 500. The index rose 1.5 percent Friday but still wound up with its worst weekly loss in more than two years.

Despite the two-day recovery, the S&P 500 is down 7.5 percent from its recent high, and investors expect far more volatility in the stock market than they did two weeks ago.

DEFENSE DEAL: Defense contractor General Dynamics will spend almost $7 billion to acquire internet technology company CSRA. The Trump administration has been pushing defense spending aggressively higher. CSRA climbed $9.58, or 31.1 percent, to $40.40 Monday. General Dynamics added 23 cents to $212.33.

GAINERS: Retailers, apparel makers and other companies that focus on consumers made some of the largest gains. They held up relatively well during the steep downturn over the last two weeks, a sign that investors expect shoppers to keep spending and the economy to keep growing. On Monday General Motors picked up 57 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $42.04 and Netflix climbed $5.40, or 2.2 percent, to $254.87. It's up 33 percent since the beginning of the year.

Restaurant Brands International, the owner of Burger King and Tim Hortons, jumped $3.80, or 6.7 percent, to $60.31 after a strong fourth-quarter report, and McDonald's gained $3.24, or 2 percent, to $164.04.

Technology companies also rose. They have slumped recently after winning a big portion of the market's gains over the last year. Apple gained $6.13, or 3.9 percent, to $162.54 while Cisco Systems rose $1.13, or 2.9 percent, to $40.66. Chipmaker Applied Materials climbed 95 cents, or 2 percent, to $49.03.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 62 cents, or 1 percent, to $59.82 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 43 cents to $63.22 a barrel in London.

Hess added $1.68, or 4 percent, to $43.80 and Occidental Petroleum picked up $2.01, or 2.9 percent, to $70.19.

Oil prices have dropped since reaching long-time highs in late January, when U.S. crude peaked at $66 a barrel. The S&P 500 energy index is down 12 percent over the last month.

FOX HUNT? Twenty-First Century Fox picked up 89 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $36.62 after The Wall Street Journal reported that cable and internet provider Comcast is still interested in buying Fox's entertainment divisions and could make another offer. Disney agreed to buy Fox's movie and television studios and some cable and international TV businesses in December for about $52.4 billion in stock. Comcast also reportedly had talks with Fox.

Comcast stock slipped 7 cents to $35.80 while Disney added 33 cents to $103.42.

BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.86 percent.

High dividend companies continued to struggle. Real estate investment trusts declined and utilities didn't do as well as the rest of the market. They have taken bigger losses than any other S&P 500 sectors this year. Hospital property company HCP fell 38 cents, or 1.67 percent, to $22.83 and Boston Properties shed $1.48, or 1.3 percent, to $113.87.

WEEK AHEAD: Investors will watch U.S. inflation and retail sales figures on Wednesday particularly closely as they review monthly reports from the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Retail Federation. Inflation in particular will be of interest as it could affect expectations of more rate increases the Federal Reserve. Fears of more aggressive interest rate hikes were one of the triggers of last week's stock market sell-off.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.59 yen from 108.53 yen. The euro rose to $1.2275 from $1.2231.

METALS: Gold rose $10.70 to $1,326.40 an ounce. Silver jumped 43 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $16.57 an ounce. Copper added 5 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $3.09 a pound.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX jumped 1.4 percent while the CAC 40 in France and the British FTSE 100 both advanced 1.2 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2 percent and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.9 percent. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

(BE)