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US stocks rise slightly in quiet trading; oil drops for third-straight day

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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose modestly in early trading Wednesday, recovering some of the steep losses the market had the day before.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,092 as of 9:45 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,111 and the Nasdaq composite added 22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,053.

MERGER APPROVAL: Tobacco companies Lorillard and Reynolds American rose after the Federal Trade Commission gave its tacit approval to the companies' $27.4 billion merger. Lorillard, maker of Newport cigarettes, was up 67 cents, or 1 percent, to $72.78. Reynolds American, which makes Camel brand cigarettes, was up $1.39, or 2 percent, to $76.79.

STRONG GREENBACK: The U.S. dollar extended gains against some currencies after a surge the previous day, buoyed by signs of improvement in the U.S. economy such as better-than-expected home sales, durable goods and consumer confidence.

PHOTO: Specialist Matthew Cheslock, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street as traders return from the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Matthew Cheslock, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street as traders return from the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The stronger dollar was partially a factor in Tuesday's sell off, as the strong dollar sent commodity prices falling, which in turn hit shares of material, oil and gas and industrial companies.

The dollar rose to 123.68 yen from 122.99 yen in the previous trading session. The euro dipped to $1.0876 from $1.0881.

GREECE WATCH: Greece might miss a debt repayment on June 5 if it fails to receive bailout funds from creditors, who are demanding that the country make reforms to its economy. It is unclear whether an agreement can be reached in time. Missing those payments could destabilize the country's financial system and eventually push it out of the 19-country eurozone, a step that could shake the currency union and the global economy.

Germany's DAX was up 0.1 percent, France's CAC-40 index rose 0.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 47 cents to $57.57 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.69 to close at $58.03 a barrel in Nymex floor trading on Tuesday.

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