Technology companies, retailers send US stock indexes higher

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are higher as technology and industrial companies and retailers make gains. Drugmakers and other health care companies are trading lower. Stocks have declined over the last two weeks. Trading is expected to be relatively quiet ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday later this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,581 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 83 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,442. The Nasdaq composite advanced 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,787. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 3 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,496.

TECH TIE-UP: Chipmaker Marvell Technology Group said it will buy competitor Cavium for $6 billion in the latest deal in the semiconductor industry. Cavium climbed $5.84, or 7.7 percent, to $81.68 and it’s up 20 percent over the last two weeks as investors anticipated a bid from Marvell. Marvell rose 30 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $20.59. Cavium makes chips for wired and wireless tech products and is prominent in networking technology. Marvell makes application-specific chips and integrated circuits for data storage.

Other technology companies climbed as well. IBM added $2.56, or 1.7 percent, to $151.53 and Applied Materials picked up $1.58, or 2.8 percent, to $58.07. Cisco Systems gained 35 cents, or 1 percent, to $36.25.

RETAIL RISING AGAIN: Retailers continued to move higher. They climbed last week following solid quarterly reports from Wal-Mart, Gap and Ross Stores. That’s given investors hope that shoppers are ready to spend more money. Home improvement retailer Home Depot rose $2.40, or 1.4 percent, to $170.14 and electronics retailer Best Buy advanced 66 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $56.50. Hibbett Sports, after a 27-percent surge on Friday, added $1.81, or 10.6 percent, to $18.91 and clothing company PVH rose $2.26, or 1.7 percent, to $135.39.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 78 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $55.77 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, dropped 87 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $61.85 a barrel in London.

Energy companies declined as well. Devon Energy sank 94 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $37.74 and Marathon Oil lost 46 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $14.59.

COMPETITION CONCERNS: Merck stumbled after Genentech, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche, reported positive results from a study of its drug Tecentriq as a primary treatment for lung cancer. Genentech…

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