Tech, Banks Lead Stocks Up

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP are leading technology companies higher and banks are also rising as US indexes climb in early trading on Wall Street Friday. Blue Buffalo Pet Products jumps after General Mills agrees to buy the pet food maker. Bond yields continue to recede from the four-year highs they reached earlier this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,718 as of 10:07 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 126 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,089. The Nasdaq composite gained 41 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,251. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 8 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,538.

TECH EARNS: Hewlett Packard Enterprise surged $1.59, or 9.7 percent, to $18.01 after it had a strong fiscal first quarter and raised its estimates for the rest of the year. The data center hardware company also said it will increase its quarterly dividend. Its former corporate sibling, printer and PC maker HP, also rose. Its stock gained $1.56, or 7.3 percent, to $22.95 after its first-quarter earnings and revenue surpassed analyst expectations. Its forecasts for the rest of the year were also better than excepted.

Elsewhere in the technology industry, Microsoft advanced $1.20, or 1.2 percent, to $92.93 and Intel added $1.18, or 2.6 percent, to $46.98.

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A NEW AISLE: General Mills agreed to buy pet food maker Blue Buffalo in its first foray into pet food. The companies said General Mills will pay $40 a share, or $8 billion, and Blue Buffalo climbed $5.76, or 16.9 percent, to $39.88. The company had about $1.3 billion in net sales last year and General Mills said it's part of the steadily growing market for pet food. The Cheerios maker and many of its competitors have struggled as Americans cut back on purchases of processed foods. On Friday General Mills stock lost $1.71, or 3.1 percent, to $53.24.

BANK ON IT: Banks and other financial firms rose. Investment firm BlackRock gained $5.57, or 1 percent, to $545.10. CME Group, the parent company of the Chicago Board of Trade and other exchanges, added $2.59, or 1.6 percent, to $163.12.

Royal Bank of Scotland lost 25 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $7.69 after it reported its first annual profit in a decade, but warned that 2018's earnings could be weighed down by a settlement with U.S. authorities. RBS is still majority-owned by U.K. taxpayers and it has struggled to recover from the deep losses incurred during the financial crisis.

DINING OUT: Craft beer and pizza chain BJ's Restaurants climbed $3.50, or 9 percent, to $42.20 after a strong quarter, while Mediterranean eatery Zoe's Kitchen slid 46 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $13.81.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.88 percent from 2.92 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 8 cents to $62.85 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 10 cents to $66.49 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 106.77 yen from 106.64 yen. The euro dipped to $1.2302 from $1.2329.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX index edged 0.2 percent higher and France's CAC 40 gained 0.1 percent. London's FTSE 100 was off 0.2 percent. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1 percent and Seoul's Kospi rose 1.5 percent.


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