U.S. stocks edged higher in morning trading Thursday, having shaken off an early stumble, as investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings news. Energy and industrial companies climbed, offsetting losses in banks and real estate companies. The price of crude oil rose. Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,727 as of 11:18 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,794. The Nasdaq composite added 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,414. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 10 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,626, a day after it closed at an all-time high. Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
SLICK DEAL: Williams Partners jumped 6 percent to $40.72 after it agreed to be acquired by oil pipeline company Williams Cos. in an all-stock deal they valued at $10.5 billion.
BEEFING UP: Kroger climbed 3.1 percent to $25.72 after the supermarket operator said it's increasing its investment in the British online grocer Ocado as it fends off Amazon.com and other online threats to traditional grocers. The subscription rights agreement will give Kroger access to Ocado's online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery technology in the U.S.
A GOOD LOOK: Dillard's jumped 8.7 percent to $78.26 after the department store chain's latest quarterly results beat Wall Street's expectations.
SWITCH OFF: Cisco slid 2.8 percent to $43.89 after the seller of routers, switches and software's latest quarterly results disappointed investors. The slide in Cisco helped pull technology sector stocks lower.
WORRISOME OUTLOOK: J.C. Penney slumped 9.4 percent to $2.78 after the struggling department store chain said it might take a loss in 2018 as it cut its annual forecast.
BURGER BLAHS: Shares in Jack in the Box fell 6.3 percent to $85.58 after the burger chain reported disappointing results in its fiscal second quarter.
NOT WELL: Wells Fargo fell 1.3 percent to $54.33 after the Wall Street Journal reported that some employees in its business banking division improperly altered information on documents related to corporate customers.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 34 cents to $71.83 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oil, rose 86 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $80.14 a barrel in London, its highest level since November 2014.
The rise in oil prices gave energy stocks a boost. Valero Energy gained 5.1 percent to $120.90.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3.11 percent from 3.10 percent late Wednesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.83 yen from 110.25 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1793 from $1.1802.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX gained 0.9 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.6 percent. Major indexes in Asia finished mostly lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 index added 0.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.5 percent. The Kospi in South Korea slid 0.5 percent. Australia's S&P ASX 200 dipped 0.2 percent.