OPENING BELL: US stocks extend rally to fifth day as tech companies rise
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are up for the fifth straight day Wednesday morning as materials and real estate companies move higher. Technology and industrial companies are making some of the largest gains while retailers of home improvement products, jewelry and car parts are all falling. Stocks continue to recover the steep losses they suffered one week ago.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,400 as of 10:25 a.m. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,970. The Nasdaq composite rose 9 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,147. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks picked up 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,383.
TECH: Intuit, which makes accounting software like TurboTax and QuickBooks, had a stronger quarter than investors expected and Wall Street was also pleased with its forecasts. Its stock gained $10, or 7.7 percent, to $139.15. Hard drive maker Western Digital and chipmaker Nvidia also rose. Elsewhere, big gainers early on included trucking company Ryder System and valve maker Emerson Electric.
LOWE'S SLOWS: Home improvement retailer Lowe's stumbled after investors were unimpressed by its profit and sales, as a hefty charge cut into its earnings in the first quarter. Lowe's shares fell $3.50, or 4.3 percent, to $78.84. Home Depot also slipped 70 cents to $154.13. Lowe's stock is down 1 percent over the last 12 months while Home Depot has climbed 16 percent.
LID POPS OFF: Struggling retailer Container Store Group surged after it reported solid fourth-quarter results and its outlook for the year pleased investors. The stock gained $1.68, or 40.5 percent, to $5.83. Container Store traded above $40 a share in early 2014, shortly after the company's IPO, but it fell to under $4 earlier this month.
LOST ITS SHINE: Sales for jewelry retailer Tiffany weren't as good as expected in the first quarter. The company changed CEOs in February as it struggled with competition from online retailers and had difficulty attracting younger customers. Its stock dropped $7.87, or 8.4 percent, to $85.27 and competitor Signet fell $4.76, or 8.2 percent, to $53.62.
PUMP THE BRAKES: Auto parts retailers fell again as Advance Auto Parts became the second company in the industry to report disappointing results for the most recent quarter. The company's profit and sales fell short of Wall Street's forecasts and its stock lost $7.42, or 5.3 percent, to $133.24. O'Reilly Automotive fell $2.76, or 1.1 percent, to $237.42. AutoZone made small gains. After a weak report Tuesday, AutoZone suffered its worst day since 2008. Its stock is down 26 percent this year, while Advance Auto Parts has dropped 21 percent and O'Reilly is down 15 percent.
BONDS: Bond prices held steady after Tuesday's slide. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.28 percent.
CHINESE DEBT: Moody's downgraded the Chinese government's credit rating and said it expects China's financial strength to erode as debt rises. However its rating for the country is still relatively high, and there was little market reaction.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 28 cents to $51.74 per barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 29 cents to $54.44 a barrel in London. This week members of the OPEC cartel and other countries, including Russia, are expected to extend last year's production cut in a concerted attempt to prevent oil prices from falling. Russia and Saudi Arabia have both said they support an extension ahead of Thursday's meeting.
CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 111.88 yen from 111.76 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1194 from $1.1185.
OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain was up 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent. The CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended little-changed and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.2 percent.