US stocks inch higher; technology and small caps rise

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly higher early Tuesday after posting solid gains over the last two days. Technology companies are rising further and the smallest companies are also making gains. Oil prices continued to decline, pulling energy stocks lower. Banks slipped as bond yields decreased. Twitter rose after being added to the S&P 500 index.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 added 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,749 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average was little changed at 24,815. The Nasdaq composite rose 26 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,632 and the Russell 2000 climbed 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,659.

The Nasdaq, which includes a heavy weighting of technology companies, and the Russell, which is made up of smaller, more U.S.-focused companies, both finished at record highs Monday. The S&P is still 4.3 percent off the record it set in late January, and the Dow is 6.8 percent below that mark it set back then.

BITTER BREW: Starbucks fell after Howard Schultz said he’s stepping down as the coffee chain’s chairman. Schultz has been chairman of the company since 2000 and oversaw enormous expansion for Starbucks over that time. He stepped away as CEO in 2000 but returned in 2008, and relinquished that title to Kevin Johnson in 2017. The stock lost 2.4 percent to $55.69.

ENERGY: Oil prices kept falling. Crude recently hit a three-year high but has declined sharply over the past two weeks. U.S. crude gave up 0.7 percent to $64.30 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 1.6 percent to $74.10 a barrel in London.

U.S. crude has fallen about 11 percent since it peaked at just over $72 a barrel on May 21.

FAV and RT: S&P Dow Jones Indices said late Monday that Twitter will be added to the benchmark S&P 500 index as of Thursday after Monsanto officially becomes part of Bayer. Twitter rose 5 percent to $39.77. Netflix, which will become part of the S&P 100 index, rose 1.2 percent to $366.10.

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