US stocks edge higher as health care companies rise

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are slightly higher Thursday as health care companies rise. AbbVie jumped after it reached a deal with a competitor that would delay competition for its anti-inflammatory treatment Humira, the biggest-selling drug in the world. Technology companies and banks are also up.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,509 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 47 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,388. The Nasdaq composite shed 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,449. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,488. The Russell 2000 is at all-time highs and is coming off its biggest daily gain in six months.

September is historically a weak month for stocks, as the S&P 500 falls about 0.5 percent in September on average. But the index is up 1.5 percent this month, on track for its sixth consecutive monthly gain.

HEALTH CARE GAINS: Drugmaker AbbVie climbed after it resolved a patent dispute over Amgen’s version of AbbVie’s drug Humira, which is the source of most of its revenue. Amgen agreed not to begin selling its version of the anti-inflammatory medicine in Europe until October 2018, and the U.S. version won’t go on the market until Jan. 31, 2023.

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The settlement would mean billions of dollars in additional sales for AbbVie, which reported $16 billion in Humira sales in 2016. Its stock gained $4.59, or 5.4 percent, to $89.34 and Amgen rose 30 cents to $185.18.

ABBOTT APPROVAL: Abbott Laboratories jumped after the Food and Drug Administration approved its FreeStyle Libre Flash glucose monitoring system for adults with Type 1 diabetes. The product uses a sensor inserted below the skin to measure blood glucose. Analysts say Abbott could have a competitive edge because the FDA did not advise patients to take samples of their blood to confirm the system’s readings.

Abbott rose $1.51, or 2.9 percent, to $53.66. DexCom, which gets all its revenue from selling its own blood glucose monitoring system, plunged $22.70, or 33.6 percent, to $44.77 in heavy trading.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up an early gain and fell 58 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $51.56 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, fell 49 cents to $57.41 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon….

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