Stocks turn higher; trade tensions keep investors guessing

U.S. stocks are edging higher Monday after concerns about growing trade tensions between the U.S. and China sent stocks lower last week. Technology companies like Apple and Microsoft are recovering some of their recent losses and so are industrial companies. Banks are rising along with interest rates. Gene therapy developer AveXis is soaring after drugmaker Novartis agreed to buy it for $8.7 billion.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index gained 20 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,624 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 197 points, or 0.8 percent, to 24,130. The Nasdaq composite jumped 86 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,001. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 8 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,521. The Russell index is composed of more U.S.-focused companies that are less vulnerable to the effects of tariffs, so its moves in response to the recent trade tensions haven’t been as dramatic.

The S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent last week, with large losses Monday and Friday and strong gains in between.

WHERE ARE WE NOW? While Trump continued to bash America’s trade deals on Twitter, he said the U.S. and China could settle their dispute.

Investors aren’t sure how bad the trade dispute between the nations might get. Both sides say they are open to talks, and they could resolve their complaints with measures that don’t make much difference to global economic growth and to stock indexes. But over the last week the two sides proposed larger tariffs on goods made by the other: early in the week each nation said it could put tariffs on $50 billion in goods imported from the other, and late Thursday the U.S. said it might put tariffs on another $100 billion in imports while Beijing said it would “counterattack with great strength.”

Stocks have had a bumpy ride as the dispute has heated up, and on Monday, Google’s parent company Alphabet jumped $23.08, or 2.3 percent, to $1,033.03 and Apple gained $3.05, or 1.8 percent, to $171.43. Among industrial companies, Boeing rallied $5.43, or 1.7 percent, to $331.55 and Caterpillar gained $2.87, or 2 percent, to $145.86.

X MARKS THE SPOT: Swiss drugmaker Novartis agreed to buy AveXis for $8.7 billion, or $218 a share, as it aims to become a leader in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The price is almost double AveXis’ closing price on Friday. AveXis is studying a treatment for a disorder called spinal muscular atrophy Type 1, which Novartis called the top genetic cause of death in infants, and is also researching treatments for other conditions.

AveXis climbed $91.42, or 78.9 percent, to $207.33 and Novartis added 71 cents to $80.91.

WILL HE GET LIKES? This week will be a big one for Facebook as it tries to get its data privacy scandal under control. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before Congress later this week and the company has embarked on a high profile effort to show users, advertisers and investors that it’s taking the problem seriously. Its stock is down 14.5 percent since March 16.

Starting Monday, the 87 million Facebook users whose data may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica will get a message on their news feeds explaining what happened. Most of those users are in the U.S. More than 2 billion Facebook users will get a notice titled “Protecting Your Information” with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. That will allow them to shut off the apps individually or turn off third-party access to their apps completely.

Facebook picked up $1 to $158.20 Monday morning.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.80 percent from 2.77 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 96 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $63.02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 89 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $68 a barrel London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107 yen from 106.85 yen. The euro rose to $1.2318 from $1.2285.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX was little changed and the CAC 40 in France dipped 0.1 percent. The British FTSE 100 slipped 0.4 percent.

Asian stocks fared better. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.3 percent. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.6 percent.

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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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