Stocks Up for Third Day

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are higher Thursday morning as major indexes extend a rebound into a third day.

Health care companies are rising after insurer Cigna topped Wall Street's expectations in the third quarter and raised its estimates for the rest of the year, while a big gain in AIG is helping send financial stocks higher.

Strong third-quarter results helped stocks rally over the past two days. Chemicals maker DowDuPont also jumped after reporting a strong quarter.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,715 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 63 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,179. The Nasdaq composite was unchanged at 7,305. The Russell 2000 index jumped 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,521.

Stocks fell sharply from early October through the last few days of the month, a skid that wiped out their gains from earlier in the year. After a rally over the last two days, the S&P 500 is up 1.5 percent in 2018.

During the sell-off, high-growth companies like technology and industrial firms and smaller, more U.S.-focused stocks were hit especially hard as investors worried about various factors that could slow their growth and their profits. Those included the U.S.-China trade fight, rising interest rates that could make it more expensive to borrow money, and higher costs for fuel and other necessities.

CHEMISTRY: Chemicals maker DowDuPont surged 6.6 percent to $57.48 after its third-quarter profit surpassed analyst estimates. The company said sales grew in all regions, with strong gains in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. DowDuPont also said it expects to save more money from a cost-cutting program and plans to buy back another $3 billion in stock.

CIGNA SUCCESS: Health insurer Cigna raised its forecasts for the year after beating expectations in the third quarter, and its stock jumped 3 percent to $220.31.

BREXIT PROGRESS: The pound rose sharply following reports that Britain and the European Union had reached a deal to give U.K. financial services companies access to the bloc after Brexit. The article by The Times cited anonymous sources, and other reports suggested a deal had not yet been finalized. The British pound rose to $1.2919 from $1.2771.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent and the British FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent. After a big rally Wednesday, the CAC 40 in France fell 0.3 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.7 percent while Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.1 percent. The Kospi in South Korea finished 0.3 percent lower.

ENERGY: Oil prices continued to weaken after the Department of Energy said U.S. crude stockpiles increased for the sixth straight week. Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 0.2 percent to $65.20 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 0.2 percent to $74.85 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.17 percent from 3.15 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.77 yen from 113.06 yen. The euro rose to $1.1389 from $1.1314.