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VOL. 41 | NO. 10 | Friday, March 10, 2017

US stock indexes hold steady while overseas markets rally

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes held steady Thursday, while bond yields recovered some of their sharp losses from the prior day. Stock markets around the world rallied.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,383 as of 10:40 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 3 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 20,947. The Nasdaq composite was little changed at 5,900. Nearly as many stocks fell on the New York Stock Exchange as rose.

EUROPEAN OPTIMISM: Stock markets across the Atlantic had bigger gains, with the French CAC 40 up 0.5 percent and Germany's DAX up 0.5 percent. The U.K. FTSE 100 up 0.6 percent. Investors had been nervous about Wednesday's Dutch election, where politicians had railed against the European Union and immigration. After the U.K. vote to exit the European Union, investors wondered whether the Dutch election and others scheduled later in the year on the continent could lead the European Union to break apart.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party won a parliamentary election victory over anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders. Wilders campaigned on pledges to close borders to migrants from Muslim nations, close mosques, ban the Quran and take the Netherlands out of the EU.

BOND YIELDS: U.S. Treasury yields recovered some of their losses from the prior day. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.52 percent from 2.50 percent. It had plunged by 0.11 percentage points the prior day, after the Federal Reserve dashed speculation that it may become more aggressive in raising rates.

The central bank increased short-term rates by a quarter of a percentage point but said that it continues to expect to raise rates a total of three times this year. Some investors had begun to speculate that four increases may be possible given how much the economy and inflation have picked up.

SOME CENTRAL BANKS FOLLOW: China's central bank raised a short-term interest rate on lending to banks but left its benchmark rate unchanged following the U.S. increase. The People's Bank of China hiked the rate for its six-month and one-year medium-term lending facility and open-market repurchase operations by 0.1 percent. The benchmark one-year commercial lending rate was unchanged. The bank cited the Fed's rate hike and improved Chinese economic conditions.

OTHERS STAND PAT: Japan's central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at and said it would work toward a 2 percent inflation rate target.

The Bank of England held its interest rates at record lows.

EARNINGS POP: Tech giant Oracle rose to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger revenue and earnings for its latest quarter than analysts expected. Oracle rose $3.57, or 8.3 percent, to $46.62.

GO HIGHER: GoPro, which makes wearable cameras, surged after it announced a cost-cutting plan and said it's sticking by its forecast for 2017 profits. Its stock rose $1.20, or 16.3 percent, to $8.55.

HOME ADVANTAGE: Homebuilders jumped as encouraging data for the industry continues to pile up. U.S. builders broke ground on new homes at a faster pace in February, and the pace was faster than economists expected. D.R. Horton rose 70 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $33.98, and PulteGroup rose 48 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $23.92.

ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.1 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2.1 percent, and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.8 percent. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.2 percent to 5,785.80.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 7 cents to $48.79 per barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 5 cents to $51.86. Gold rose $27.10 to $1,227.80 per ounce, silver rose 45 cents to $17.38 per ounce and copper rose 2 cents to $2.68 per pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 113.32 Japanese yen from 113.39 yen late Wednesday. The euro rose to $1.0739 from $1.0713, and the British pound rose to $1.2362 from $1.2301.

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