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VOL. 42 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 20, 2018

Facebook leads technology stock rally as US indexes rise

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are rising Thursday morning as Facebook leads a big rally for technology companies. The social media network jumped after its recent data privacy scandal didn't appear to affect its business in the first quarter. Other big technology companies also moved higher. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Ford and Visa also rose after they gave strong first-quarter reports.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,652 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 118 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,204. The Nasdaq composite advanced 69 points, or 1 percent, to 7,073. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,552.

HAPPY FACE: Facebook surged 7.5 percent to $171.55 after the company's advertisers appeared to shrug off the privacy scandal that has surrounded the company. The company said its revenue jumped 49 percent in the first three months of the year, and there were few signs users or advertisers were abandoning the company since the scandal broke in mid-March. Facebook has faced a backlash about how it collects and uses data since the revelation that Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm linked to the Trump campaign, had gained information on up to 87 million of its users.

Facebook stock is down 7 percent since then.

Other social media companies also rose. Twitter gained 4.3 percent to $31.03 and Snap picked up 2.6 percent to $14.92. Alphabet, Google's parent company, the only digital publisher larger than Facebook, rose 1.1 percent to $1,033.83.

EXTRA GUAC ALL AROUND: Chipotle Mexican Grill climbed after the company said sales improved in the first quarter, partly because of higher prices, and investors hoped the chain is starting to turn its business around after repeated food safety scares. New CEO Brian Niccol also said the company intends to expand its delivery service and is considering drive-thrus. The shares rose 20.2 percent to $408.11. They traded as high as $749 in mid-2015.

PUT IT IN DRIVE: Ford rose after the company said it will no longer sell the Fusion midsize car, Taurus large car, CMax hybrid compact and Fiesta subcompact in the U.S., Canada and Mexico because of falling profitability. Its only remaining cars in the region will be the Mustang and a compact Focus crossover vehicle. The company is aiming to slash more than $20 billion in costs to become more competitive in the changing auto market.

The stock gained 2.9 percent to $11.44.

BUSY SIGNAL: AT&T fell 4.8 percent to $33.50 after a weak first quarter, and online auction and payment site eBay slid 5.6 percent to $38.66 after its second-quarter forecast disappointed Wall Street.

BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.99 percent from 3.03 percent.

EUROPE: The European Central Bank left its key interest rates and monetary stimulus settings unchanged on Thursday, as expected. Investors are now watching for any hint from ECB chief Mario Draghi on the outlook for the eurozone economy and future rate policy. Of particular interest will be the potential impact from global trade tensions on big exporting economies like Germany, which have seen a dip in industrial production in recent months.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent and the British FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent. Germany's DAX was unchanged. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5 percent and South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.1 percent after Samsung reported better than expected earnings. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.1 percent.

ENERGY: Oil futures extended gains. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 0.4 percent to $68.32 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1 percent to $74.73 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.16 yen from 109.34 yen and the euro dipped to $1.2173 from $1.2175.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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