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

4/24/2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Wall-Street-659

Randy Beller, right, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, April 24, 2014. Mixed earnings from a large number of U.S. companies left the stock market without direction early Thursday, despite positive results from a handful of names including Apple and Caterpillar. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.