Stocks Edge Higher in Midday Trade

(AP) -- Major U.S. stock indexes veered slightly higher in midday trading Friday, on course for their second straight day of gains. Investors were assessing the latest company earnings for insight into how the global economy is doing. Consumer staple stocks were among the biggest risers.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 58 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,200 as of 12:02 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added five points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,029. The Nasdaq composite gained nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,879.

THE QUOTE: "People just want to get some comfort that the recovery in the developed markets is still intact," said David Lefkowitz, an executive director and equity strategist at UBS. "That in my mind is really the key question going into earnings season."

PLAYTIME AGAIN: Mattel climbed 4.2 percent after Oppenheimer published a research note highlighting the toymaker's core brands as a bright spot. The report came a day after Mattel reported disappointing third-quarter results. Mattel gained 95 cents to $23.48.

SURPASSED EXPECTATIONS: General Electric reported a decline in third-quarter profit, but strong performances from its core units helped the industrial conglomerate top Wall Street expectations. GE rose the most in the Dow, adding 50 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $28.54.

CRIMPED CASINO: Wynn Resorts slumped 3.7 percent after the casino operator said new gambling regulations in Macau continued to hurt its business. The stock fell $2.75 to $71.01.

IN A SLUMP: Several oilfield service providers were trading lower. Schlumberger slid 4 percent after the company announced job cuts. The stock fell $3.05 to $73.11. Halliburton shed $1.97, or 5 percent, to $37.29, while Baker Hughes fell $2.60, or 4.6 percent, to $53.59.

SECTOR VIEW: Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 were rising, led by consumer staples stocks, a category that includes Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo. The energy sector fell the most.

MANUFACTURING REPORT: The Federal Reserve said that U.S. manufacturing production fell for the second straight month in September as factories cranked out fewer appliances, computers, and electronics. The decline suggests that a strong dollar, weak overseas economies, and cautious U.S. consumers are holding back factory output.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.6 percent, while Germany's DAX rose 0.4 percent. France's CAC 40 gained 0.6 percent. In Asia, South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China was up 1.6 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.1 percent, aided by expectations that the country's central bank will come up with more stimulus measures this month or next.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 34 cents to $46.69 in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slipped 15 cents to $49.88.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.03 percent from 2.02 percent. The euro was little changed at $1.1355 while the dollar edged up to 119.54 yen.

(BAS)