Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Holiday

Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Holiday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are drifting higher in early trading Wednesday, building on their small gains from the previous day, as markets start to wind down ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.

EARLY GAINS: The Dow Jones industrial average added 26 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,838 as of 10:02 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,090. The Nasdaq composite index gained 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,114.

PLOWING ALONG: Agricultural equipment maker Deere dealt with plunging sales of tractors, bulldozers and other equipment by slashing costs. The company's fiscal fourth-quarter results and its projections for the current fiscal year were better than analysts expected. Deere rose $2.70, or 3.5 percent, to $79.02.

HP DIVERGES: Hewlett-Packard reported earnings for the final time Tuesday night, weeks after the tech giant formally split into two separate companies. The outcomes for the two stocks were starkly different.

HP, which inherited the parent company's PC, printer and commercial software business, sank $2.26, or 15.4 percent, to $12.39 after reporting weaker sales. HP Enterprise gained 32 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $14.04. Sales of hardware for data centers, including servers and networking devices, did better.

THE ECONOMY: Consumer spending inched up 0.1 percent in October, the second small gain in a row. Despite weak spending in September and October, economists think spending will keep growing because the labor market is strong. Applications for unemployment aid fell last week, although the more stable four-week average was unchanged.

ENERGY: The price of oil fell $1.04, or 2.4 percent, to $41.83 a barrel in New York. Brent crude fell $1, or 2.2 percent, to $45.12 a barrel in London. Chevron fell 78 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $90.57. Chesapeake energy fell 14 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $5.35.

EUROPE STOCKS: Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1 percent and the CAC 40 of France gained 1.4 percent. Germany's DAX was up 1.6 percent.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose and the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond slipped to 2.23 percent from 2.24 percent. The euro fell to $1.0583 from $1.0655 on Tuesday. The dollar rose to 122.85 yen from 122.44 yen.

(KA)