​Stocks rise as metals, machinery companies strengthen

NEW YORK - Stocks are rising Wednesday as machinery and chemicals companies rise. The weaker dollar is giving metals prices a boost and could make U.S. goods more affordable in markets overseas.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,977 as of 1:56 p.m. ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained five points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,117. The Nasdaq composite rose 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,972.

Machinery maker Caterpillar jumped $1.16, or 1.5 percent, to $77.97 and engine maker Cummins picked up $1.79, or 1.5 percent, to $118.94. Gold and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan added 39 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $11.63, gold producer Newmont Mining gained 80 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $35.75 and aluminum company Alcoa rose 17 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $9.96.

The dollar declined to 106.78 yen from 107.31 yen late Tuesday. The euro edged up to $1.1401 from $1.1361.

The dollar has lost some of its strength in the wake of Friday's disappointing jobs report. That's helped mining companies and chemicals and machinery makers because a weaker dollar makes U.S. goods more affordable in other countries. Metals prices climbed. Gold rose 1.3 percent and silver gained 4 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 81 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $51.17 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 97 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $52.41 per barrel in London.

U.S. crude has risen over the last few days as the dollar weakened. On Tuesday, U.S. crude closed at more than $50 a barrel for the first time since July.

Restaurant chain Dave & Buster's climbed $4.06, or 9.7 percent, to $45.92 after the company reported strong first-quarter results and raised its outlook for the year.

VeriFone Systems, which makes terminals used for electronic payments, slashed its annual forecast after it reported disappointing quarterly results. The company said it will eliminate jobs and review some of its struggling businesses. The stock gave up $7.64, or 27 percent, to $20.60.

Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel's and other liquor brands, gained ground after it reported strong fourth-quarter results. The stock gained $3.11, or 3.2 percent, to $100.46. Competitor Constellation Brands, which makes Corona, Negra Modelo and Pacifico beers, rose $2.96, or 2 percent, to $154.07. Their gains helped take household goods companies higher.

Phone company stocks, which have done well over the last two weeks, traded lower. Verizon Communications lost 35 cents to $51.40 and AT&T dipped 7 cents to $39.72.

Oxford Industries, the owner of Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and other clothing lines slumped after its first-quarter results disappointed investors. The stock lost $3.54, or 5.4 percent, to $61.59.

Headphones maker Skullcandy surged after the company's founder said he might want to take the company private. Rick Alden, Skullcandy's largest shareholder, disclosed the idea in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Skullcandy stock climbed 64 cents, or 16.3 percent, to $4.57.

Computer networking company F5 Networks lost $2.98, or 2.4 percent, to $120.96. The stock had jumped 13 percent Tuesday on reports the company would consider selling itself.

Germany's DAX was down 0.7 percent and France's CAC-40 shed 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.9 percent and Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.8 percent.

The World Bank cut its forecast for this year's global economic growth to 2.4 percent from the 2.9 percent pace projected in January. That matches economic growth from 2015. The World Bank made the change because of slow growth in advanced economies, low commodity prices, weak global trade and diminishing capital flows.

U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.71 percent from 1.72 percent.