Posted: Monday, August 4th 2014 at 10:29am
Stocks recover some ground but questions remain
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks were slightly higher early Monday, helped by a decent earnings report from Berkshire Hathaway and the announcement of a bailout package for a struggling Portuguese bank.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,516 as of 10 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose five points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,930 and the Nasdaq composite rose 21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,373.
In Europe, Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent and France's CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent.
PORTUGESE BANK RESCUE: Portugal's central bank said late Sunday it will rescue the ailing bank Banco Espirito Santo, one of the country's biggest financial institutions. The bank's woes were a major reason European markets fell last week.
BUFFETT'S BIG PAYDAY: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway rose $1.71, or 1.4 percent, to $127.54 in early trading. Berkshire reported a profit of $6.4 billion last quarter, helped by its insurance division Geico, which performed well above Wall Street's expectations. Berkshire's investment portfolio was also a big driver of profits last quarter.
THE AFTERMATH: Investors are recovering from last week's market rout, where the S&P 500 fell nearly 3 percent in five days. It was the worst week for the index since June 2012.
"Despite this slightly positive start to the week, there does appear to be a little caution in the markets," said Alpari analyst Craig Erlam. "Investors are a little concerned that the sell-off which started last week is not over and could lead to something much bigger."
LIGHTS OFF: Utility stocks were among the hardest hit in early trading Monday. Consolidated Edison, PG&E and Duke Energy were all down 1 percent or more. The Dow Jones utility index, which includes 15 utility stocks, fell 1.3 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.7 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent but Tokyo's Nikkei 225 ended down 0.3 percent.
CURRENCIES, OIL: Currency markets were flat. The dollar was steady at 102.57 yen and the euro held at $1.3422. Benchmark U.S. crude for September delivery was down 18 cents at $97.70 per barrel.
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