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Tech stocks recover slightly as US market barely shifts

US stock indexes finished barely higher on Tuesday after a late slump erased most of an early gain.

Technology companies recovered some of the losses they took a day earlier, but energy companies and banks slipped.

Strong gains for software company Red Hat and recoveries for big names like Apple and Facebook helped technology companies move higher.

Cruise lines rose after Carnival had a stronger third quarter than analysts expected. Small-company stocks continue to set record highs.

With little corporate or economic news to focus on, investors turned their attention to a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for clues about the Fed's thinking on interest rates.

Ms Yellen told a conference of economists that the Fed is puzzled that inflation remains so low. While she and other policymakers still think inflation will eventually reach the Fed's 2% target, she conceded that the Fed may need to change its assumptions.

She also said the Fed should take care not to raise rates too slowly.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 0.18 points to 2,496.84. The Dow Jones industrial average, which rose as much as 73 points during the day, lost 11.77 points, almost 0.1%, to 22,284.32 as McDonald's fell and Chevron went into a late slide.

The Nasdaq composite gained 9.57 points, or 0.2%, to 6,380.16 after a drop of 0.9% on Monday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 4.91 points, or 0.3%, to a record 1,456.86.

Carnival's third-quarter profit and revenue surpassed Wall Street's expectations. The cruise line raised its annual forecasts and said bookings and prices for next year are higher than they were at this time a year ago. Carnival gained 1.82 dollars, or 2.9%, to 65.32 dollars and competitor Royal Caribbean Cruises rose 3.31 dollars, or 2.9%, to 117.19 dollars.

Open-source software maker Red Hat climbed 4.31 dollars, or 4.1%, to 110.07 dollars after reporting a better-than-expected second quarter.

Chipmaker Nvidia rose after it said several major Chinese companies, including e-commerce giants Alibaba and Baidu, will use its products in data centres and cloud computing platforms. It added 96 cents to 171.96 dollars.

Elsewhere, Apple picked up 2.59 dollars, or 1.7%, to 153.14 dollars and Facebook rose 1.34 dollars to 164.21 dollars.

The director of global sports marketing for athletic apparel maker Adidas was one of 10 people charged in what the US government described as a scheme to match agents and advisers to college basketball players before they became NBA stars. Four assistant basketball coaches were arrested along with Adidas executive James Gatto. Adidas fell 2.4% in Germany.

The dollar rose to 112.17 yen from 111.61 yen. The euro fell to 1.1798 dollars from 1.1846 dollars.

Germany's DAX rose 0.1% and the FTSE 100 in Britain fell 0.2%. France's CAC 40 rose less than 0.1%. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 0.3% and the Hang Seng of Hong Kong gained less than 0.1%. The South Korean Kospi declined 0.3%.

AP

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