Stocks edge up even as government shutdown looms -

Stocks edge up even as government shutdown looms

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market edged higher in early trading Friday, a day after another big earthquake in Japan sent indexes lower.
   Investors will be watching Washington, where Republicans and Democrats are in the final day of talks to reach a budget agreement that would prevent a government shutdown. A shutdown will close non-essential government services, including the publication of most economic reports.
   The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,420 in morning trading. The S&P 500 rose 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,336. The Nasdaq composite added 3, or 0.2 percent, to 2,798.
   Gains were spread across the market. Technology companies were the only member of the 10 company groups that make up the S&P index to fall.
   Oil futures were nearly 1 percent to $111.14. Over the past two months, stocks have fallen following large jumps in oil prices as investors worried that higher transportation costs would cut into company margins and consumer spending.
   Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research, said that stocks tend to rise along with oil prices over the long term. "The recent breakdown in the pattern has largely been due to fears of supply shocks," he said. "But the oil rally could also be attributed to a stronger world economy."
   World markets rose broadly. The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of European blue chips, gained 0.8 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei index rose 1.9 percent.
   Expedia Inc. gained 12 percent, the most of the 500 stocks in the S&P index, after the company said it would split off its division.
   Cisco Systems. Inc. fell nearly 1 percent, the most of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow average.
   U.S. stocks ended Thursday with small losses after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Japan. The Dow Jones industrial average fell as many as 96 points in morning trading, but recovered most of its losses after a tsunami warning was lifted.
   Friday is the last trading day before the next round of corporate earnings reports begins with Alcoa Inc.'s report on Monday.
   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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