Tech, Health Leads Stocks Up

(AP) -- U.S. stocks are up broadly in early trading Thursday, turning major indexes higher for the week as markets reopen following the Independence Day holiday. Technology stocks and health care and consumer-focused companies accounted for much of the market's gains. Oil prices fell.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,725 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 127 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,302. The Nasdaq added 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,538. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,663.

U.S.-CHINA TRADE TIFF: On Friday the U.S. is set to impose a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. And China is expected to strike back with tariffs on a similar amount of U.S. exports. The big question is how far the two countries will go in their dispute over trade. On Thursday in China, Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng hit back at "threats and blackmail" ahead of the planned U.S. tariff hike. He added that China would be forced to fight back to protect its own interests.

TECH RALLY: Technology stocks posted solid gains. Chipmaker Micron Technology climbed 2.7 percent to $52.88.

HEALTHY MOVE: Several health care sector stocks also helped lift the market. Biotechnology company Biogen gained 1.5 percent to $298.03.

CHAPTER CLOSED: Barnes & Noble fell 1.3 percent to $5.78 after the company fired its CEO late Tuesday.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.84 percent from 2.83 percent late Tuesday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 6 cents to $74.08 per barrel in New York. The contract settled at $74.14 a barrel on Tuesday, after rising to over $75 a barrel in early trading. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 6 cents to $78.18 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.59 yen from 110.62 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1701 from $1.1652.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe rallied following a German newspaper report saying that the U.S. may propose reducing auto tariffs to zero. Germany's DAX jumped 0.9 percent and France's CAC 40 climbed 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent.

In Asia, markets were subdued after China reaffirmed its determination to protect its interests in a rancorous trade dispute with Washington. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.2 percent lower.

(BE)