NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are continuing to climb Wednesday as energy companies rise with the price of oil. Mining and chemical companies are trading higher and banks continue to climb. Hewlett Packard Enterprise agreed to sell a business to Computer Sciences, and both stocks are jumping.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 154 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,860 as of 2:53 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,090. The Nasdaq composite index added 31 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,892.
GAINS AGAIN: Stocks have risen over the last two days as investors began to feel better about the global economy. On Wednesday a survey of German business sentiment rose more than expected, which was a positive sign for the European economy. Stocks jumped Tuesday after a strong report on home sales in the U.S.
THE QUOTE: "Market participants feel confident that perhaps we're seeing a stabilization of growth overseas," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "Here in the U.S. the economy appears to be pulling out of the first quarter slump."
TECH TIE-UP: Hewlett Packard Enterprise said it will sell its business service unit to CSC for $8.5 billion. The company, which was formed when Hewlett-Packard split in two last year, will focus on selling tech products to big organizations, like hardware and software for data centers. Hewlett Packard Enterprise rose $1.07, or 6.6 percent, to $17.32 and Computer Sciences surged $13.32, or 37.4 percent, to $48.97.
OIL: Oil prices ticked higher after the U.S. government said fuel stockpiles decreased last week. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 94 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $49.56 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $1.13, or 2.3 percent, to $49.74 a barrel in London. Oil prices haven't been this high since early October. That sent energy companies higher. Chevron added $1.66, or 1.7 percent, to $101.85 and Schlumberger rose $2.13, or 2.8 percent, to $77.75.
PLANTING SEEDS: German conglomerate Bayer said it's committed to completing its acquisition of Monsanto. Monsanto rejected a $62 billion offer from Bayer but said Tuesday that it's open to talks, and its stock gained $2.16, or 2 percent, to $111.46. Bayer's offer valued Monsanto at $122 per share.
Elsewhere, chemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries picked up $2.27, or 2.8 percent, to $82.72. Gold and copper miner Freeport-McMoRan added 59 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $11.70.
BONDS AND BANKS: Bank stocks made some of the biggest gains as investors wondered if the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates soon. That would allow banks to make more money on lending. Wells Fargo rose $1.48, or 3 percent, to $50.68 and Citigroup added $1.13, or 2.5 percent, to $46.99.
Bond prices were little changed and the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note remained at 1.86 percent.
RETAIL: A string of painful quarterly results for retailers continued Wednesday. Clothing and accessories chain Express reported disappointing results and gave weak projections for the rest of the year, and its stock fell $1.45, or 9 percent, to $14.58.
ALIBABA AND THE SEC: The Chinese e-commerce company says U.S. regulators are investigating its accounting practices. Alibaba said the Securities and Exchange Commission has asked for documents and information related to its consolidated earnings and other items. The stock lost $5.55, or 6.8 percent, to $75.57.
SANOFI MAKES A MOVE: French drugmaker Sanofi said it wants to replace the entire board of Medivation. The cancer drug maker rejected a $9.3 billion offer from Sanofi and the company says Medivation won't discuss a deal. Sanofi stock gained 80 cents, or 2 percent, to $41.01.
HANGING UP: Microsoft said it will cut 1,850 jobs, most of them in Finland, from its troubled mobile phone business. It will also write down the value of the business by $950 million. Microsoft bought Nokia's phone division for $7.3 billion in 2014 and has already cut the value of that business and eliminated 26,000 jobs. Microsoft rose 82 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $52.42.
OVERSEAS: Greece will get about $11.5 billion in loans after finance ministers from the eurozone approved the country's latest package of tax hikes and reforms. The release of the loans removes the risk that Greece will default on its debts in coming months.
Germany's DAX advanced 1.5 percent. France's CAC gained 1.1 percent while Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 1.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 2.7 percent. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.2 percent.
METALS: Gold fell $5.40 to $1,223.80 an ounce. The price of gold has fallen 4 percent over a six-day losing streak. Silver was unchanged at $16.26 an ounce. Copper rose 4 cents to $2.10 per pound.
OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.64 a gallon. Heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.51 a gallon. Natural gas picked up 1 cent to $1.99 per 1,000 cubic feet.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.15 yen from 109.98 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1162 from $1.1143.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay