Stocks Mixed in Early Trade

(AP) -- Major U.S. stock indexes wavered between small gains and losses in early trading Wednesday. Bond yields rose, sending banks higher. Energy stocks rose along with crude oil prices. Homebuilders climbed following a government report showing that new U.S. home construction rebounded strongly last month. Technology companies were the biggest laggard.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index fell less than 1 point to 2,904 as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 127 points, or 0.5 percent, to 26,374. The Nasdaq composite lost 36 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,919. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,716.

BREAKING GROUND: The Commerce Department said residential construction rebounded in August at the fastest pace in seven months. At the same time, applications for new building permits, considered a good indication of future activity, plunged. Despite the mixed signals, homebuilder shares rose. William Lyon Homes added 1.7 percent to $19.64.

DRIVER OUT: AutoNation rose 2.5 percent to $44.16 on news that CEO Mike Jackson is stepping down after almost two decades leading the nation's largest auto dealership chain.

FIT FOR GROWTH: Fitbit shares gained 3.9 percent to $6.03 after the maker of wearable exercise trackers launched a platform that offers personalized coaching. The company also announced a partnership with Humana to potentially give the insurer's 5 million members access to the platform.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.7 percent to $70.37 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.1 percent to $78.76 per a barrel in London.

Energy companies climbed along with oil prices. Halliburton gained 2.4 percent to $40.12.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.07 percent from 3.04 percent late Tuesday. The pickup in bond yields drove up shares in financial sector stocks. Unum Group gained 2.3 percent to $39.36.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.31 yen from 112.35 yen on Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.1655 from $1.1667.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX gained 0.4 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent. Major indexes in Asia finished mostly higher. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.1 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.2 percent. South Korea's Kospi finished virtually unchanged.

(BE)