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US Stock Indexes Edge Higher in Morning Trading


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Major U.S. stock indexes edged higher in morning trading Wednesday as investors sized up the latest company earnings and new data showing residential construction slowed last month. Energy stocks led among the gainers as oil prices headed higher, while consumer-focused companies lagged the most.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 52 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,213 as of 10:43 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,144. The Nasdaq composite index edged up 1 point to 5,245.

ALL ABOUT EARNINGS: Investors are poring over company earnings reports to gauge the market's prospects for growth in coming months and get a better handle on the state of the economy. About 80 of the companies in the S&P 500 are scheduled to report quarterly results this week.

BOND BUMP: Morgan Stanley rose 1.2 percent after the investment bank said earnings soared 62 percent in the third quarter, thanks to big gains in bond trading. Goldman Sachs disclosed similar results Tuesday. Morgan Stanley added 30 cents to $32.62.

OIL BOOST: A pickup in crude oil prices helped lift several energy companies. Halliburton rose $1.50, or 3.2 percent, to $48.57. Chesapeake Energy added 20 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $6.72. Occidental Petroleum added $1.66, or 2.3 percent, to $74.23.

NOT CHIPPER: Intel slid 5.4 percent a day after the world's biggest chipmaker issued downbeat guidance for the current quarter. The stock lost $2.05 to $35.71.

ROUGH QUARTER: Shares in Manhattan Associates tumbled 8.9 percent after the business software company reported weak quarterly sales and cut its revenue outlook. The stock fell $5.26 to $53.75

HOME CONSTRUCTION: The Commerce Department said residential construction slowed 9 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.05 million units. That's the second straight monthly pullback and the slowest pace in 18 months. A steep drop in apartment construction overshadowed a surge in single-family home construction.

OVERSEAS MARKETS: Global stocks were mostly steady after China reported its economy expanded at a firm pace in the July-September quarter. In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 0.1 percent, while France's CAC 40 was flat. The FTSE 100 in Britain slipped 0.1 percent. Earlier, Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.2 percent, while Australia's S&P ASX/200 added 0.5 percent. The Kospi in South Korea was flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.4 percent.

OIL: U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 85 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $51.14 a barrel in New York after a report of a drawdown in inventories. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 68 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $52.36 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.75 percent from 1.74 percent late Tuesday. In currency markets, the dollar fell to 103.30 yen from 103.89 yen, while the euro weakened to $1.0965 from $1.0977.

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