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U.S. Stocks Tick Higher After Selloff

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09/26/2017 | 06:01pm CEST
By Marina Force and Michael Wursthorn 

--U.S. stocks stabilize after Monday's drop

--Some havens, including gold, decline

Shares of technology companies rose Tuesday, helping major U.S. stock indexes stabilize after Monday's declines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 22298, following its biggest drop since Sept. 5 on Monday. The S&P 500 added less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose less than 0.1%.

The moves came after tensions between North Korea and the U.S. sparked a pullback in U.S. stocks Monday. Without any new major geopolitical developments on Tuesday, investors appeared to be taking advantage of the recent declines, analysts said.

"Investors are looking to pick up things that have fallen down a little bit," said Chris Wolfe, chief investment officer at First Republic Bank's wealth-management arm. With bond yields still relatively low, "you get into a place where equities are the only game in town," he added.

Shares of tech companies in the S&P 500, which have been big contributors to this year's gains in the U.S. stock market, climbed 0.2% after slumping Monday.

Software maker Red Hat rose 2.9%, putting it among the index's biggest gainers after it reported higher-than-expected profit and revenue for the latest quarter. Chip maker Nvidia added 1.5% and shares of Apple, which have tumbled this month, gained 1.1%.

Investors pulled back from assets they consider to be relatively safe. Gold prices fell 0.6% Tuesday and the dollar rose 0.4% against the Japanese yen, which tends to rise when markets slide.

An escalation between North Korea and the U.S. has pressured major indexes and sent haven assets like gold higher a few times in recent months.

"Markets do get jolted by these things," said Sat Duhra, a portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors.

Tensions with North Korea had ramped up Monday after the foreign minister warned the country would shoot down U.S. warplanes even if they were outside its airspace. White House officials dismissed talk of war.

Some investors were hoping for guidance from the Federal Reserve this week, with Chairwoman Janet Yellen scheduled to speak in Cleveland on Tuesday and Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer speaking Thursday. Officials last week hinted the central bank would raise rates once more this year. However, many traders were skeptical the Fed would provide any clarity.

"I don't think there is going to be an a-ha moment for the markets after any of the speeches. They [Fed members] tend to move back and forth between hawkish and dovish, in terms of their language at least," said Mark Heppenstall, chief investment officer at Penn Mutual Asset Management.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.239%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.220% Monday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the currency against a basket of 16 others, rose 0.5% Tuesday after closing Monday at its highest level this month.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was little changed. In Asia, South Korea's Kospi closed down 0.3%, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average also fell 0.3%, with tech stocks under pressure.

Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Michael Wursthorn at [email protected]

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