US Stocks Edge Higher on Solid Earnings

(AP) -- Stocks edged higher on Wall Street in early trading Thursday as investors continued digesting solid corporate earnings reports and maintained confidence that a new round of government aid is on the horizon.

President Joe Biden held his first conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Although there wasn't any indication of a major change in U.S. trade policy, businesses are hoping for a less combative approach to trade policy between the world's two biggest economies than during the Trump administration.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as investors try to regain momentum after a wobbly day of trading Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63 points, or 0.2%, to 31.501 as of 9:58 a.m. Eastern and is hovering around a record high set on Wednesday. The Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

Technology stocks were key drivers of the gains following two relatively weak days. Most other sectors of the market were muted or edging lower. The yield on 10-year Treasury note held at 1.15% after being as high as 1.20% earlier this week.

Many markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year and other holidays. Markets in Europe were mostly higher.

Companies continued reporting mostly solid earnings, adding to a surprisingly good earnings season. Kraft Heinz jumped 6.6% and Zillow Group rose 14.4% after beating Wall Street's fourth-quarter profit forecasts.

The pandemic and business shutdowns are still hurting many companies and crimping their financial results. Molson Coors fell 9% after its profits fell short of expectations because business shutdowns in Europe hurt sales.

Wall Street is still looking forward to more government aid to help bolster the struggling economy as vaccine distribution progresses.