Stocks edge higher in choppy trading as companies report better earnings; Apple gains


NEW YORK — Stocks finished slightly higher today, led by the technology sector after Apple reported a big earnings gain.

Apple also announced a stock split, a dividend increase, and a larger share repurchase program after the markets closed Wednesday. The stock gained 8 percent. Caterpillar also rose 2 percent after posting better-than-expected results.

3M was among those companies whose results disappointed investors. 3M finished down 1 percent. Defense contractor Raytheon also fell 4 percent after its results fell short of forecasts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,878 today.

The Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged at 16,501. The Nasdaq composite rose 21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was flat at 2.70 percent.