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US stocks rise for the first time in four days

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks rose for the first time in four days Tuesday as investors judged that the recent sell-off had presented them with a buying opportunity. Technology stocks were among the leading gainers.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,849 as of 1:07 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,256. The Nasdaq composite gained 30 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,109.

EARNINGS START: Investors will start to focus on corporate earnings again this week. Aluminum company Alcoa will report its first-quarter earnings after the market closes on Tuesday. Energy company Chevron and the banks JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are also among the companies reporting earnings this week.

BOUNCING AROUND: Stocks have had a volatile April. After closing at a record April 2, the market slumped as investors sold technology and biotechnology companies. On Tuesday, technology stocks rose the most. Facebook gained $1.39, or 2.4 percent, to $58.36. Google's class newly issued C shares rose $14.01, or 2.6 percent, to $552.33.

THE EARNINGS PICTURE: The slump in stocks over the last three days can be put down to investor jitters before companies publish their latest quarterly results, said Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist of U.S. Trust. He expects the stock market to stabilize as earnings start to come in.

“Seems like every time we come up to earnings season we get a little nervous about the upcoming season,” Quinlan said. “This will pass.”

DRUG TROUBLE: Gilead fell $2.51, or 3.4 percent, to $69.78 following reports that Express Scripts, the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager, plans to ask its clients to join a coalition that would stop using Gilead's Sovaldi Hepatitis C treatment once a rival medicine is approved for the U.S. next year. Express Scripts estimates that U.S. spending on Hepatitis C medications will surge 1,800 percent in 2016. Lawmakers last month have already questioned the pricing of Gilead's new drug.

SPORTING CHANCE: Sportswear company Nike rose $1.72, or 2.4 percent, to $72.57 after an analyst at Stifel recommended buying the stock because of the company's track record in increasing its revenue and earnings. Stifel predicts the stock will rise to $87.

FOOD MARGINS: Whole Foods Market gained $1.37, or 2.7 percent, to $51.67 after analysts at UBS raised their price target for the stock to $70 from $62. The analysts are optimistic that the high-end grocery store chain will be able to increase its profit margins as it expands.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged 2.70 percent from late Monday. The price of crude oil rose $1.01, or 1 percent, to $101.45 a barrel. Gold rose $10.90, or 1 percent, to $1,309 an ounce.

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