US stocks edge higher as health care companies rise


Updated 9:38 am, Thursday, September 28, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are turning slightly higher Thursday as health care companies rise. AbbVie jumped after it reached a deal with a competitor that would delay competition for its anti-inflammatory treatment Humira, the biggest-selling drug in the world. Technology companies and banks are taking small losses.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,508 as of 12:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,386. The Nasdaq composite shed 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,447. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,485. The Russell 2000 is at all-time highs and is coming off its biggest daily gain in six months.

September is historically a weak month for stocks, as the S&P 500 falls about 0.5 percent in September on average. But the index is up 1.5 percent this month, on track for its sixth consecutive monthly gain.

HEALTH CARE GAINS: Drugmaker AbbVie climbed after it resolved a patent dispute over Amgen’s version of AbbVie’s drug Humira, which is the source of most of its revenue. Amgen agreed not to begin selling its version of the anti-inflammatory medicine in Europe until October 2018, and the U.S. version won’t go on the market until Jan. 31, 2023.

The settlement would mean billions of dollars in additional sales for AbbVie, which reported $16 billion in Humira sales in 2016. Its stock gained $4.62, or 5.5 percent, to $89.37 and Amgen rose $1.04 to $185.92.

ABBOTT APPROVAL: Abbott Laboratories jumped after the Food and Drug Administration approved its FreeStyle Libre Flash glucose monitoring system for adults with Type 1 diabetes. The product uses a sensor inserted below the skin to measure blood glucose. Analysts say Abbott could have a competitive edge because the FDA did not advise patients to take samples of their blood to confirm the system’s readings.

Abbott rose $1.72, or 3.3 percent, to $53.87. DexCom, which gets all its revenue from selling its own blood glucose monitoring system, plunged $23.41, or 34.7 percent, to $44.06 in heavy trading.

LAGGARDS: Industrial companies and banks, which are both trading around annual highs, took small losses Thursday. Power management company Eaton lost $1.15, or 1.5 percent, to $75.97. After a rally a day ago, banks were down. U.S. Bancorp fell 59 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $53.26.

Technology companies were down as well. Hard drive maker Western Digital fell $2.60, or 2.9 percent, to $85.62 and payroll and human resources company Automatic Data Processing gave up 84 cents to $108.80. Apple sank $1.31 to $152.92.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up an early gain and fell 41 cents to $51.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, fell 35 cents to $57.22 per barrel in London.

Exxon Mobil gained 85 cents, or 1 percent, to $82.28, which was enough to pull energy stocks higher even though natural gas companies declined along with the price of that fuel. Pioneer Natural Resources lost $2.44, or 1.6 percent, to $147.10.

WELL SEASONED: Spice maker McCormick raised its profit and revenue estimates after it beat expectations in the fiscal third quarter. Its stock gained $4.78, or 5 percent, to $101.23.

RITE AID GOES WRONG: Drugstore chain Rite Aid dropped after its quarterly revenue fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The stock lost 25 cents, or 11 percent, to $2.03. Earlier this month the company agreed to sell almost half of its stores to rival Walgreens for $4.38 billion, but the slimmed-down deal was smaller than investors had hoped.

BONDS: Bond prices continued to fall. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.33 percent from 2.31 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 112.69 yen from 112.75 yen. The euro rose to $1.1787 from $1.1756.

OVERSEAS: The German DAX gained 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain added 0.1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei index rose 0.5 percent and in South Korea the Kospi made a tiny gain. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.8 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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