US stocks are mostly higher as oil prices keep falling


NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are rising Monday as clinical trial news gives health care companies a lift and tech and consumer stocks reach annual highs. Energy companies are tumbling as the price of oil continues to nosedive.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average added 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,452 as of 11:33 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,176. The Nasdaq composite gained 35 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,196. The Nasdaq continued to rise last week while the Dow and S&P 500 traded lower. While the other major indexes have set all-time records recently, the Nasdaq hasn’t managed to do the same. It’s within 1 percent of the all-time high it set in July 2015.

IONIS CLIMBS: Ionis Pharmaceuticals rose after it said a drug designed to treat spinal muscular atrophy in infants worked in a late-stage clinical study. It also said drugmaker Biogen exercised an option to develop the drug globally and will pay Ionis $75 million. Biogen plans to start seeking marketing approval for the drug, nusinersen, in the next few months. Ionis surged $10.86, or 37.2 percent, to $40.05 and Biogen gained $16.88, or 5.8 percent, to $306.81. Those moves helped pull health care stocks higher.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 90 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $40.70 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gave up 93 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $42.60 a barrel in London. The price of oil dropped 14 percent in July and has fallen nine out of the last 11 days. Exxon Mobil fell $2.32, or 2.6 percent, to $86.63 and Chevron shed $2.20, or 2.1 percent, to $100.29. Devon Energy sank $1.54, or 4 percent, to $36.74.

TESLA PLUGS IN: Tesla agreed to buy SolarCity for $2.6 billion in stock. More than a month ago it offered to buy the company for about $2.5 billion, and investors had hoped for a bigger offer. SolarCity has 45 days to seek better offers. Tesla CEO Elon Musk owns more than 20 percent of both companies, and SolarCity is run by his cousin Lyndon Rive. The deal won’t go through unless it’s approved by a majority of shareholders other than Musk.

SolarCity also cut its guidance Monday. Its stock fell $1.29, or 4.8 percent, to $25.41 and Tesla Motors lost 4 cents to $234.75.

SALE, CAESAR: Caesars Entertainment said it agreed to sell its social and mobile games business to a Chinese consortium for $4.4 billion. Its stock advanced 49 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $7.39.

VERIZON’S DEAL: Verizon Communications agreed to buy Fleetmatics Group for $2.4 billion, or $60 per share. Fleetmatics makes software that cable companies, energy companies and others use to manage vehicle fleets. Its stock jumped $16.65, or 38.8 percent, to $59.61 and Verizon fell 47 cents to $54.94.

OVERSEAS: Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent while Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 percent. The CAC-40 in France was 0.6 percent lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index gained 0.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 1.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.7 percent.

CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.49 percent from 1.45 percent, reversing most of a drop in bond yields on Friday. The dollar edged up to 102.37 yen from 102.03 yen. The euro fell to $1.1178 from $1.1179.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

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