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Stocks Inch Higher Friday              03/16 15:37

   U.S. stocks edged higher Friday as gains from energy companies, industrial 
firms and smaller companies helped the market end a modest losing streak.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks edged higher Friday as gains from energy 
companies, industrial firms and smaller companies helped the market end a 
modest losing streak.

   Oil and gas companies climbed along with the price of oil Friday while 
industrial companies recovered some of the losses they sustained earlier this 
month. Beauty products retailer Ulta and software company Adobe rose after 
strong quarterly reports. Tiffany dropped after reportgin weak sales, and 
online retailers Overstock.com and Wayfair slumped as investors worried about a 
possible price war.

   All this week, stocks moved higher in early trading only to shed those gains 
as the day went on. They broke out of that pattern Friday, even though the 
gains were modest.

   "From an investor point of view, the fact that we haven't rallied right back 
to the highs is a good thing," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading 
and derivatives at Charles Schwab. Positive news about the economy has been 
countered by concerns about rising tensions over international trade.

   "The pullback that we've been in is pretty much driven by President Trump's 
proclamation about tariffs," Frederick said.

   The S&P 500 index gained 4.68 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,752.01. The Dow 
Jones industrial average added 72.85 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,946.51. The 
Nasdaq composite rose 0.25 points to 7,481.99. The Russell 2000 index of 
smaller-company stocks jumped 9.43 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,586.05.

   After a dramatic drop at the beginning of February followed by a rapid 
recovery of some of their losses, stocks have bounced around for the last 
month. The Dow, which surged past 26,000 in mid-January, has been wobbling 
around 25,000 for about a month.

   The S&P 500 fell for the first four days of the week and finished with a 
decline of 1.2 percent. The worst losses came Tuesday and Wednesday after 
President Donald Trump blocked Singapore-based chipmaker Broadcom's effort to 
buy its U.S. rival Qualcomm and European leaders warned about the risks of 
trade disputes.

   The Federal Reserve said factory output continued to rise as companies in 
the U.S. produced more cars, computers and furniture. It reported that 
manufacturing output rose 1.2 percent in February after three months of weak 
results. Factory output has increased 2.5 percent over the last year.

   The Commerce Department said homebuilders started work on fewer apartment 
buildings in February, and that caused overall housing starts to drop 7 
percent. Builders have shifted their efforts to single-family homes recently as 
the economy has improved.

   Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.15, or 1.9 percent, to $62.34 a barrel in New 
York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed $1.09, or 1.7 
percent, to $66.21 a barrel in London.

   Tiffany dropped $5.20, or 5.1 percent, to $97.51 after it reported weaker 
sales than analysts expected. Its forecast for the current year was also below 
what investors were looking for.

   Online discount retailer Overstock.com said profit margins have fallen hard 
because of competition with Wayfair, and CEO Patrick Byrne said the company 
will "respond in kind," meaning Overstock will try to ramp up its growth and 
will be willing to lose money to achieve that goal. The stock dropped $2.50, or 
5.2 percent, to $45.70 while Wayfair lost $5.01, or 6 percent, to $78.95.

   While Broadcom is no longer trying to buy rival chipmaker Qualcomm, both 
companies are still at the center of deal discussions. The Financial Times 
reported that former Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs wants to take the company 
private and has had talks with potential investors and the Qualcomm board. 
Qualcomm added 73 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $60.62, which gives it a market 
value of about $90 billion.

   With the Qualcomm deal finished, Broadcom says it still sees opportunities 
for other acquisitions. The company also disclosed its quarterly results, and 
its shares fell $12.89, or 4.8 percent, to $254.87.

   The top policymakers at the Federal Reserve will meet Tuesday and Wednesday, 
and they are expected to raise interest rates again. Since the market is fairly 
sure of what the Fed will do, there will be a lot of focus on what it says. 
After the meeting ends, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold his first news 
conference since he replaced Janet Yellen last month.

   Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.84 
percent from 2.83 percent.

   In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 2 cents to $1.95 a 
gallon. Heating oil picked up 2 cents to $1.91 a gallon. Natural gas edged up 1 
cent to $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   Gold dipped $5.50 to $1,312.30 an ounce. Silver lost 15 cents to $16.27 an 
ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $3.11 a pound.

   The dollar declined to 106.10 yen from 106.24 yen. The euro fell to $1.2284 
from $1.2303.

   The German DAX gained 0.4 percent while Britain's FTSE rose 0.3 percent. The 
CAC 40 in France added 0.3 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.6 percent while 
South Korea's Kospi edged 0.1 percent higher and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index 
dipped 0.1 percent.


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