Stocks Edge Higher Midday

(AP) -- U.S. stock indexes were up slightly in light trading Thursday afternoon, led by financial companies as bond yields rose. Technology companies also posted more gains. Surging natural gas prices helped lift some energy stocks. Consumer-goods makers lagged the most.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up less than 1 point to 2,683 as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 28 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,803. The Nasdaq added 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,944. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,545.

FINANCIALS CLIMB: Banks and other financial companies rose as bond yields rose. Northern Trust added $1.29, or 1.3 percent, to $99.97.

TECH GAINS: Technology stocks bounced back after several days of losses. Nvidia picked up $1.13, or 0.6 percent, to $198.30.

FOOD & BEVERAGE: Several packaged food, beverage and other consumer-goods makers declined. Monster Beverage slid $1.07, or 1.7 percent, to $63.16.

ROUGH ROAD: JB Hunt Transportation Services shed 1.4 percent after the trucking company issued a disappointing fourth-quarter profit forecast. JB Hunt expects to take about $40 million in one-time charges for the quarter. The stock fell $1.67 to $113.80.

LACKLUSTER QUARTER: Calumet Specialty Products Partners tumbled 12.1 percent after the oil and solvents processor reported disappointing third-quarter results. The stock gave up $1.07 to $7.78.

OIL & GAS: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 5 cents to $59.69 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, was down 8 cents to $65.91 per barrel in London. Natural gas prices climbed as temperatures dropped in the U.S. Natural gas rose 20 cents, or 7.2 percent, to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The pickup in natural gas prices helped drive gains for some energy companies. Chesapeake Energy added 17 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $4.05.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.43 percent from 2.41 percent late Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 112.87 yen from 113.26 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1955 from $1.1899.

THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin fell 9.7 percent to $13,887 as of 1:29 p.m. ET, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange slid 7.3 percent to $13,850. South Korea's government announced additional measures Thursday to curb speculative trading of virtual currencies in the country, including a ban on opening anonymous accounts.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe closed lower. Germany's DAX slipped 0.7 percent, while France's CAC 40, lost 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1 percent, but the gain was enough for the index to close at a record high. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 erased earlier gains to finish 0.6 percent lower. South Korea's Kospi surged 1.3 percent after government data showed strong gains in retail sales and industrial output last month. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent.

(BE)