Stocks Little Changed Early Wednesday

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock indexes are little changed Wednesday morning as energy companies continue to rise with oil prices, but technology companies head lower. Oil and gasoline prices have jumped this week, partly because investors think Hurricane Florence might cause shortages. Apple is expected to introduce new iPhone models later in the day.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,885 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 26,000. The Nasdaq composite slid 43 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,929.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,714.

APPLE SPOTLIGHT: Apple is expected to showcase three new iPhones, including its biggest and most expensive model yet, as it seeks to widen the product's appeal amid slowing sales growth. Last year's iPhone X didn't live up to analysts' initial sales expectations, but did well enough for Apple to move ahead with a bigger model.

Apple fell 1.3 percent to $221.03. It's up 28 percent in 2018.

OIL: Crude oil prices built on Tuesday's gains. Benchmark U.S. oil climbed 1.4 percent to $70.22 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 0.5 percent to $79.44 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline prices rose 0.5 percent to $2.02 a gallon.

Energy companies also rose. Chevron climbed 1.5 percent to $116.74 and Schlumberger rose 1.3 percent to $31.13.

ENERGY SURGE: Oil and gasoline prices jumped Tuesday as Hurricane Florence drew nearer to the East Coast and the U.S. government said it's seeing signs that oil shipments from Iran are down. The U.S. is getting ready to put sanctions on Iran's oil industry and has been pressing other countries to reduce their imports as well. That follows the U.S.' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May.

FDA WARNING: Cigarette makers jumped after the Food and Drug Administration said it is looking at steps to combat "an epidemic" of e-cigarette use by teenagers.

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the FDA might limit flavored products and said e-cigarette makers need to change their marketing practices and come up with plans to get teens to use their products less often. He said the agency will change its policies for existing products if it's not satisfied with those plans.

Altria Group jumped 4.5 percent to $62.13 and Philip Morris International rose 3.6 percent to $80.21.

BALM FOR GILEAD: Gilded Sciences and Dutch drugmaker Galapagos climbed after they said a rheumatoid arthritis drug met its goal in a late-stage study. Gilead gained 3 percent to $74.37 and Galapagos rose 16.3 percent to $119.50.

PRICES DOWN: The Labor Department said wholesale prices unexpectedly dipped in August, the first decline in a year and a half. That's a sign inflation pressures could be easing. The agency's producer prices index slipped 0.1 percent in August, although it's up 2.8 percent over the last year.

The department said transportation and warehousing service prices fell for the month.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.96 percent from 2.98 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.29 yen from 111.59 yen. The euro rose to $1.1616 from $1.1586.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent. Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent, and the Kospi in South Korea was almost flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was 0.3 percent lower.

(BE)