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Technology companies lead stocks higher

Technology companies lead stocks higher

Technology companies led stocks higher on Tuesday after Texas Instruments Inc. said it planned on buying National Semiconductor.
National Semiconductor soared 71 percent to $24.11. Texas Instruments said late Monday that it would acquire the chip maker for $6.5 billion, or $25 a share. Texas Instruments rose 1.5 percent.
Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp, rose the most of the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average.
Stocks had edged lower in early trading, following most world markets, after China raised a key lending rate and the rating agency Moody's lowered Portugal's credit rating.
Crude oil prices are trading above $108 a barrel as unrest in the Middle East continues to raise doubts about future supplies.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,406. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2 to 1,335. The Nasdaq composite rose 11, or 0.4 percent, to 2,799.
A survey from the Institute for Supply Management reported growth at service companies last month but at a slower rate than analysts were expecting.
Apple Inc. slipped less than 1 percent. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. announced a rebalancing of the Nasdaq-100 Index next month that will cut Apple's weighting in the index from 20 percent to 12 percent. That will likely force some money managers to reduce their holdings.
KB Home lost 5 percent. The homebuilder reported a first-quarter loss of $1.49 a share, far more than the 25 cents analysts were expecting.
Later Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its March 15 meeting. The Fed's announcement after that meeting offered its most optimistic view of the U.S. economy since the recession ended. Fed policymakers said the recovery was on "firmer footing."