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Tech stocks lead market to gains amid recovery from last week's slump

Tech stocks lead market to gains amid recovery from last week's slump
U.S. Air National Guard from the South Carolina Air National Guard and 169th Fighter Wing prepare on Monday to deploy to support civilian agencies in advance of Hurricane Florence. Home improvements stores saw their shares rise as the hurricane was expected to boost sales. (U.S. Air National Guard)

U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday as technology companies continued to recover from their recent losses.

Big technology companies slumped last week as executives from Facebook and Twitter appeared before Congress at hearings about election meddling and political bias.

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On Tuesday, Apple climbed a day before it's set to announce new phone designs and other products. Video game companies Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive also jumped. Other big technology companies and their compatriot Amazon rose for a second day.

Apple jumped 2.5% to $223.85 and Amazon rallied 2.5% to $1,987.15. Microsoft picked up 1.7% to $111.24 and Alphabet climbed 1.3% to $1,189.99.

Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, said that when investors' confidence in the technology sector wavers, it tends to come back quickly because the companies are so profitable: Google and Facebook are free to use, and new users cost the companies practically nothing.

“There's no way smaller companies can compete,” he said.

Wireless speaker maker Sonos plunged 22% to $16.56 after its first earnings report as a publicly traded company. The company went public in early August with an offering that priced at $15 a share, and it had climbed to $21.24 at Monday's close.

The S&P 500 index rose 10.76 points, or 0.4%, to 2,887.89. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 113.99 points, or 0.4%, to 25,971.06. The Nasdaq composite added 48.31 points, or 0.6%, to 7,972.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller and more U.S.-focused companies inched up 0.94 point, or 0.1%, to 1,718.40.

The approach of Hurricane Florence boosted shares of home improvement retailers.

Home Depot rose 1.5% to $213.85 and Lowe's climbed 1.6% to $114.18 as damage from the storm could lead to a quick boost in sales.

Allstate, Berkshire Hathaway and Travelers are some of the largest catastrophe insurers in the Carolinas and Virgini, while the largest property and casualty reinsurers include Axis Capital, Everest Re and RenaissanceRe, according to a note published Sunday by Morgan Stanley analyst Kai Pan.

Most of those stocks inched higher Tuesday, but they have fallen 3% to 5% over the last week.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.98% from 2.94%.

The dollar rose to 111.59 yen from 111.21 yen. The euro slipped to $1.1586 from $1.1597.

Benchmark U.S. crude jumped 2.5% to $69.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 2.2% to $79.06 a barrel in London.

Gold rose 0.2% to $1,202.20 an ounce. Silver fell 0.2% to $14.15 an ounce. Copper slipped 0.2% to $2.62 a pound.

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Germany's DAX and London's FTSE 100 both fell 0.1%. The French CAC 40 added 0.3%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.7% and officially entered a bear market, having fallen 20.3% from its recent peak reached Jan. 26. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 1.3% while Seoul's Kospi fell 0.2%.

3:21 p.m.: This article was updated with closing stock market results.

This article was published at 8:50 a.m.

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