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New York • U.S. stocks are rising Wednesday afternoon as banks and technology companies move higher. The market is making broad gains and building on a rally that started the day before. Stocks have reached a high mark for the year.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 95 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,727 as of 1:02 p.m. Mountain time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 12 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,066. The Nasdaq composite index added 31 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,877.
FINANCIALS FLY: Banks and insurance companies made the biggest gains. MetLife gained $1.97, or 4.6 percent, to $44.43 after the company successfully challenged its "too big to fail" designation. The Financial Stability Oversight Council had said MetLife needed greater government oversight because of its size and importance to the financial system, but the company took the council to court over that ruling. On Wednesday a judge ruled in its favor.
Fellow insurer AIG advanced 97 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $54.36. Wells Fargo rose 70 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $48.75.
SMOOTH SAILING: Cruise line operator Carnival got a boost after its first-quarter results were better than analysts expected, and the company raised its profit projections for the year. The stock gained $2.41, or 4.8 percent, to $52.05 and competitor Royal Caribbean Cruises added $3.89, or 5.1 percent, to $79.94.
WORKING ON THE RAILROAD: Norfolk Southern jumped $2.58, or 3.1 percent, to $85.38 after it said it is open to a possible sale to Canadian Pacific, but only if Canadian Pacific offers a better price and regulators approve the structure of the deal. Norfolk Southern has rejected three offers from Canadian Pacific worth about $30 billion. Rival railroad CSX picked up 52 cents, or 2 percent, to $26.41.
TECH TOPS: Apple rose $1.99, or 1.8 percent, to $109.67. The world's largest publicly traded company is at its highest price since December. Visa gained $1.45, or 1.9 percent, to $76.83 to lead tech stocks higher.
SLOW CLIMB: Stocks jumped Tuesday afternoon after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank expects to proceed slowly in raising interest rates. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are each up about 7 percent this month. That puts them on pace for their largest monthly gain since October.
HIRING: U.S. companies added 200,000 jobs in March, according to a survey of private employers by ADP, a payroll processing company. The survey showed companies in construction, retail and shipping continued to bring on new workers, and it suggests hiring continues in the U.S. The federal government will release its monthly jobs report Friday.
ACADIA ADVANCES: Acadia Pharmaceuticals rose after a Food and Drug Administration panel made a positive recommendation for Acadia's drug Nuplazid, which is intended to treat psychotic delusions and behaviors that harm patients with Parkinson's disease. The stock climbed $2.30, or 9.7 percent, to $26.11.
STRETCHING HIGHER: Canadian yoga-wear company Lululemon gained $6.80, or 11.1 percent, to $68.04 after it disclosed strong fourth-quarter sales.
BILLS PILE UP: Payroll processor Paychex lost $1.14, or 2.1 percent, to $53.35 as investors were unimpressed with its fiscal third-quarter results. The stock has climbed over the last two months and is near all-time highs.
ENERGY: Oil prices rose slightly. U.S. crude rose four cents to $38.32 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, rose 12 cents to $39.26 a barrel in London.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices slipped, returning some of Tuesday's gains. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.83 percent from 1.80 percent. The dollar continued to weaken. The euro rose to $1.1333 from $1.1295 and the dollar fell to 112.47 yen from 112.75 yen.
OVERSEAS: France's CAC-40 climbed 1.8 percent, while Germany's DAX and the FTSE 100 in Britain each rose 1.6 percent. Asian stocks were mixed after the Asian Development Bank said economies in the region will grow at a slower pace in 2016 and 2017 because of reduced growth in China and a weak recovery in other major industrial economies. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 1.3 percent as the yen continued to strengthen. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 2.1 percent. South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.4 percent.
METALS: Gold fell $8.90 to $1,226.90 an ounce. Silver slipped two cents to $15.21 an ounce, while copper fell two cents to $2.19 a pound.
OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cent to $1.44 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $1.16 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 2 cents to $2 per 1,000 cubic feet.