Wal-Mart, Airlines Lift Stocks

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are edging higher on Tuesday as a strong forecast from Wal-Mart lifts retailers and energy companies rise with the price of crude oil. Airlines are climbing after United Continental and American gave solid forecasts for the current quarter. Consumer products company Procter & Gamble is slipping after saying its shareholders did not elect activist investor Nelson Peltz to its board of directors.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,546 as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,790, on pace for another record high. The Nasdaq composite declined 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,575. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,506.

RETAIL SURGE: Wal-Mart climbed after it said it expects digital sales to rise 40 percent next year. The company has made a string of acquisitions, including online retailer Jet, as it tries ramp up its online sales to compete with Amazon and other retailers. Wal-Mart also said it plans to buy back $20 billion of its own stock. Wal-Mart gained $3.82, or 4.7 percent, to $84.35. Target rose $1.24, or 2.2 percent, to $57.49 and Amazon declined $8.02 to $982.97.

TAKEOFF: Airlines rose after American raised an important revenue forecast and United Continental predicted bigger profit margins. Airlines have been stung by a series of hurricanes that affected the Southeastern U.S. over the last few months. Investors are worried about extensive discounts on ticket prices, but so far their third-quarter results look better than expected.

United jumped $3.69, or 5.7 percent, to $68.39 and American rose $2.47, or 4.9 percent, to $53.07. Delta gave a positive update of its own a week ago, and on Tuesday it picked up $1.35, or 2.6 percent, to $53.10.

KNOCK-KNOCK: Procter & Gamble stumbled after saying its shareholders did not elect Peltz to its board. Preliminary vote totals showed a close result and Peltz did not immediately concede defeat.

Peltz, of Trian Fund Management, says the company's performance has been disappointing for the last decade. The maker of Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste urged shareholders to vote against Peltz and says he hasn't offered any specific ideas. The stock made small gains early on but fell $1.23, or 1.3 percent, to $90.89 after Procter & Gamble's announcement.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added $1.24, or 2.5 percent, to $50.82 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 93 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $56.72 a barrel in London.

Energy companies rose. Chevron gained $1.44, or 1.2 percent, to $119.15 and Halliburton rose 53 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $45.46.

CARS AND CHIPS: Chipmaker Nvidia will work with Deutsche Post DHL to start testing autonomous delivery trucks in 2018. The stock rose $3.09, or 1.7 percent, to $188.48. Three years ago it traded under $18.

Automotive parts and electronics maker Delphi slumped. Delphi has announced several partnerships to develop and test autonomous cars, including a pact with a French transport company. It lost $2.02, or 2 percent, to $98.10. Intel, one of Delphi's partners in that business, shed 47 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $39.39.

BREAKUPS: Industrial conglomerate Honeywell will split into three companies. It will keep its aerospace business and create two separate publicly-traded companies. One company will own Honeywell's home heating, ventilation and security systems and fire prevention unit as well as its global distribution business. Its transportation systems business will become another company.

Honeywell added 26 cents to $143.86.

Pfizer said it might sell or spin off its consumer products business, which owns brands like ChapStick, Advil, Robitussin and Preparation H. It expects to make a decision next year. Pfizer lost 6 cents to $36.08.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.11 yen from 112.69 yen. The euro rose to $1.1809 from $1.1752.

BONDS: Bond prices moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.33 percent from 2.36 percent.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX slipped 0.3 percent while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.4 percent. The CAC 40 in France dipped 0.1 percent. Spain's IBEX dropped 1.1 percent as investors waited to see if the president of the Catalan region will declare independence during a speech on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 0.6 percent to its highest close in 21 years. South Korea's Kospi jumped 1.7 percent after a weeklong holiday. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong climbed 0.6 percent.

(BE)