NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are moving higher Wednesday on some strong earnings reports and a rise in crude oil prices. Several energy companies are rebounding from big drops the day before. Murphy Oil is up 1.8 percent.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,978 as of 1:11 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,984. The Nasdaq composite increased 11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,659.
FLYING HIGH: Air Transport Services jumped $2.27, or 19 percent, to $14.04 after turning in solid results and saying it will operate an air transport network for Amazon.
CHOW WOW: Pet-food company Blue Buffalo Pet Products rose $3.44, or 19 percent, $22 after posting strong earnings.
EATING OUT: Darden Restaurants rose $2.25, or 3.5 percent, to $66.83. The parent company of Olive Garden forecast strong quarterly sales and a larger-than-expected profit.
FOOD TROUBLE: Chipotle Mexican Grill fell $15.19, or 3 percent, to $509.50. The restaurant chain said it closed a Massachusetts store after four employees said they were feeling ill. The closure follows a series of food scares that sickened customers at its restaurants around the country. Chipotle has stepped marketing to win back customers and has said it's instituting food safety procedures so such incidents don't happen again.
OIL BOOST: Crude oil continued its climb from 13-year lows earlier this year. A barrel of benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.54, or 4 percent, to $38 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose $1.24, or 3 percent, to $40.86 a barrel.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: The S&P 500 has tripled since bottoming out at 676.53 exactly seven years ago during the financial crisis. Stocks have been pushed up by higher corporate earnings, though not in the past year, and by the Federal Reserve's unprecedented efforts to encourage investors to take more risk by lowering interest rates on bonds and other safer assets. The current bull market is the third-longest of 11 since World War II.
THE QUOTE: "Inflationary pressures are non-existent, and so easy money still rules," said Chief Investment Officer Krishna Memani of Oppenheimer Funds, referring to central bank policies. "We believe this will be one of the longest economic expansions, and thus one the longest bull markets, we have experienced."
ECB IN FOCUS: Investors expect the European Central Bank will announce more efforts to stimulate the 19-country eurozone at the end of its policy meeting on Thursday. Possible moves include another cut in the deposit rate for funds from commercial banks to even further below zero. The hope is that will get banks to lend more. The ECB also could increase its bond-buying program to pump more money into the economy.
EUROPE HIGHER: Germany's DAX was up 0.3 percent while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.3 percent. The three indexes each fell nearly 1 percent the day before.
ASIAN MIX: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.8 percent while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.1 percent.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.88 percent from 1.83 percent. The euro rose to $1.1030 from $1.1002. The dollar edged up to 113.05 yen from 112.61 yen.