US stocks edge up in morning trading ahead of busy week for earnings, Fed meeting on rates



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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose slightly in morning trading Monday as investors looked ahead to a busy week for earnings news and a meeting by the Federal Reserve on interest rates.

The slight gains follow big ones last week. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose to yet another record, and the Nasdaq finally climbed back from its losses in dot-com crash to hit its first high in fifteen years.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 32 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,112 as of 11:07 a.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,119. The Nasdaq composite climbed five points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,097.

EYE ON EARNINGS: More than 150 companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report quarterly results this week, including Ford, Visa, Pfizer and Exxon Mobil. Investors are anxious because falling oil prices and a strengthening dollar have hammered first-quarter results at some companies. Per-share earnings for the S&P 500 are expected to fall 1 percent from a year earlier, according to S&P Capital IQ, a provider of financial data. That would be the first drop since 2009.

EYE ON APPLE: Apple rose $2.49, or 2 percent, $132.73 as investors waited for quarterly results due out after U.S. markets close. The world's No. 1 company by market value is being closely watched for signs of how its new Apple Watches are doing.

Apple has soared 63 percent in the past 12 months, and is the biggest component in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes.

DEAL DROP: Mylan dropped 3 percent after the generic drug maker rejected a $40 billion buyout offer from Teva Pharmaceuticals, a cash-and-stock deal that Mylan says undervalues it. The company's stock fell $2.29 to $73.99.

SEMICONDUCTOR SLUMP: Applied Materials fell $1.50, or 7 percent, to $20.30 after calling off its $9.4 billion acquisition of Tokyo Electron Ltd. The two big semiconductor industry suppliers said that they were told by the Department of Justice that there were antitrust concerns.

U.S. ECONOMY: Investors were preparing for a two-day meeting of the Fed that starts Tuesday. Investors are concerned that data this week will show the U.S. economy weakened in the first quarter. While the Fed has no plans to update its forecasts, the meeting "will be closely watched to see if markets had been too eager to push out Fed hike expectations, especially now that oil prices have pushed above $55/barrel," DBS said in a report.

EUROPE RISES: France's CAC-40 index rose 1.7 percent and Germany's DAX gained 1.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.6 percent.

Corporate news on Monday in Europe was dominated by a Deutsche Bank report that its profits had dropped by half and that it would reorganize its global operations.

GREECE: Investors took a lack of progress in Greece's bailout talks in stride. Greece's Yanis Varoufakis was rebuked Friday for failing to come up with a list of reforms that European creditors want before they release new loans. The eurozone's top official, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said he hoped "some extra urgency" will be injected into the process. Greece's government is forecast to run out of money to pay its bills on another few weeks.

JAPAN DOWNGRADE: Fitch ratings agency said Monday it had cut its credit grade for Japan to A from A+ citing a lack of government reforms to the budget, weak growth, and high debt. The Japanese government has increased spending to kickstart growth but analysts say the plan has not been followed up sufficiently well with moves to control government debt. The rating announcement came after Tokyo's market closed.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei shed 0.2 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index rose 3 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.3 percent. Seoul's Kospi declined 0.1 percent. India's Sensex fell 0.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 12 cents to $57.05 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 119.13 yen from Friday's 118.95. The euro rose to $1.0888 from $1.0870.


AP Writer Joe McDonald contributed to this report from Beijing.

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