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Stock Earnings Mixed Despite Bin Laden’s Death

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(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks lost some of their early gains and turned mixed Monday despite the death of Osama bin Laden, several strong earnings reports and a major drug industry acquisition.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 12,839 in afternoon trading. It had been up as many as 65 points earlier in the day.

President Barack Obama said late Sunday that bin Laden, the al-Qaida chief who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, had been killed by American forces in Pakistan. That helped to raise investors’ confidence when the market opened.

“It’s a feel-good item,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s. “It gives closure to a lot people.”

But Silverblatt, like many analysts, cautioned that the news would likely result in only a short-term gain for the market. Most traders were instead focused on earnings and economic news. So far, strong earnings results over the last two weeks helped the Standard & Poor’s 500 reach its highest levels since the financial crisis, closing at 1363.61 on Friday.

Dish Network Corp., Chrysler Group LLC and Humana Inc. all reported strong earnings. Dish Network’s first-quarter net income more than doubled, in part, because of a patent settlement with TiVo Inc. Its stock rose 16 percent.

Humana’s profit rose 22 percent. The company benefited from more people enrolling in its Medicare plans. Its stock was flat.

Chrysler reported its first profit since leaving bankruptcy two years ago thanks to growing sales.

Whole Foods Market Inc. fell 4 percent, though, after a Jefferies analyst downgraded the company and said sales could stagnate as shoppers feel the pinch of higher gas prices.

In corporate news, Israeli drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said it would buy Cephalon Inc. for $81.50 per share, or $6.8 billion. Cephalon’s key drugs include the sleep disorder treatment Provigil and the cancer drug Treanda. Cephalon’s shares rose 4 percent.

The S&P 500 index rose a point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,365. It had been up 7 points earlier. The Nasdaq composite index fell 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,871.

Bond prices rose, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.28 percent from 3.29 percent late Friday. The dollar fell 0.2 percent against an index of six other heavily traded currencies.

The Institute of Supply Management reported that manufacturing activity increased for the 21st month in April, though at a slightly slower pace than the month before. This was expected by economists. The Commerce Department also reported that builders started work on more projects in March after three straight monthly declines in construction spending.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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