NEW YORK (AP) — Technology companies are once again leading U.S. stocks higher early Wednesday as indexes remain at all-time highs. Chipmakers and well-known companies like Oracle are leading the way. South Carolina energy company Scana, which has plunged after it stopped construction of a $9 billion nuclear project, is jumping after it agreed to be bought by Dominion Energy for $7.9 billion in stock.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,704 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,876. The Nasdaq composite climbed 38 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,045. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,553. The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell all closed at all-time highs Tuesday.
ENERGY SURGE: Dominion Energy agreed to buy Scana in a deal that expands the Richmond, Virginia-based company's business in the Carolinas. Dominion Energy is valuing the deal at about $7.9 billion plus $6.7 billion in debt. Scana soared $8.67, or 22.3 percent, to $47.54 and Dominion dropped $3.38, or 4.2 percent, to $76.90.
Scana traded above $70 a share in June but plunged after Scana and partner Santee Cooper said they were abandoning construction of two new nuclear reactors. They blamed the project failure on the bankruptcy of contractor Westinghouse. Scana repeatedly raised rates after the failure was announced and customers of its South Carolina Electric & Gas unit have paid about $2 billion toward the company's debt on the project. The heads of both companies stepped down after the companies came under harsh criticism and multiple government investigations.
As part of the deal, SCANA customers will get a $1.3 billion cash payment and a modest rate reduction.
TECH TAKES TOP SPOT: Technology companies rose further. Chipmaker Nvidia gained $8.17, or 4.1 percent, to $207.52. Software maker Oracle advanced $1.41, or 3 percent, to $48.05 and IBM added $4.58, or 3 percent, to $158.83.
LOOK, MA, NO DEAL: Money transfer company MoneyGram International tumbled $1.18, or 8.8 percent, to $12.14 after U.S. regulators rejected the $1.2 billion sale of the company to Ant Financial Services Group. The deal was rejected by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews proposed foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies on national security grounds. The reason for its decision was not immediately clear. Ant Financial is linked to Alibaba and its chairman, Jack Ma.
BATTERIES INCLUDED: Consumer products company Spectrum Brands said it will try to sell its batteries and appliances businesses. Spectrum, which makes Rayovac and Kwikset, wants to concentrate on its other divisions: hardware and home improvement, global auto care, global pet supplies and home and garden. The stock climbed $7.11, or 6.5 percent, to $116.47.
ENERGY: Oil prices are at two-and-a-half-year highs and are still rising. Benchmark U.S. crude added 63 cents, or 1 percent, to $61 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 58 cents to $67.15 a barrel in London.
BONDS: Bond prices rose after a sharp drop the day before. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.45 percent from 2.46 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.20 yen from 112.27 yen. The euro dipped to $1.2019 from $1.2055.
OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX added 0.9 percent and the French CAC 40 jumped 0.7 percent. In Britain the FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index picked up 0.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent. Markets in Japan were closed for New Year holidays but reopen on Thursday.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt