US Stocks Higher Thursday

(AP) -- Stocks rose in morning trading on Wall Street Thursday after U.S. lawmakers moved to avert a government shutdown, but the major indexes are still on track for monthly losses.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% as of 10:07 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 50 points, or 0.2%, to 34,341 and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

Technology, health care and communications companies made solid gains. Oil prices fell 2% and weighed down energy stocks.

Investors have had their eyes on Washington, where Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been wrestling over extending the nation's debt limit. Congress has moved to avert that crisis, with the Senate poised to approve legislation to fund the federal government into early December.

The broader market has stumbled through September as investors try to get a clearer picture of the economy's path amid inflation concerns and uncertainty about how COVID-19 will continue to impact industries and consumers.

The benchmark S&P 500 is down 3.5% in September and is headed for its worst monthly loss since September 2020. The index is also on pace for a 1.6% gain this quarter, which would be its smallest quarterly gain since the pandemic stunned the economy and financial markets.

Investors have been weighing a mixed bag of economic data that revealed the highly contagious delta variant crimped consumer spending and the job market's recovery. The mixed signals continued Thursday as the Labor Department reported that unemployment aid applications rose for the third straight week and were higher than economists anticipated. The Commerce Department upgraded its estimate of economic growth during the second quarter to 6.7%, which was slightly better than economists expected.

Inflation concerns that had been weighing on the market earlier in the year returned in September as a wide range of companies issued more warnings about the impact of rising prices on their finances.

Bond yields were stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans, remained at 1.54% from late Wednesday. It was as low as 1.32% just over a week ago.

Supply chain problems, higher raw materials costs and labor issues are taking a toll on multiple industries. Investors are still trying to gauge whether those issues are temporary and part of the economic recovery or could linger longer than expected. The upcoming round of corporate earnings reports could shed light on how companies are dealing with those problems.

Several companies made outsized gains and losses following corporate news on Thursday. Virgin Galactic's stock soared 14.8% after it was cleared to fly again following a Federal Aviation Administration inquiry. CarMax slumped 9.8% after reporting disappointing fiscal second-quarter profits.