U.S. stock indexes edged higher in early trading Thursday a day after the market posted its biggest single-day loss in eight months. Investors were weighing quarterly results from Wal-Mart Stores and other big retailers. Phone company stocks led the gainers. Materials stocks were down the most.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,363 as of 10:16 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,626. The Nasdaq composite index gained 37 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,048. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks was little changed at 1,355.
EYES ON WASHINGTON: The stock market was coming off its worst day since September. The slide, which extended to many major indexes overnight in Asia and Europe, was triggered by growing worries that deepening political tumult in Washington will hinder President Donald Trump's plans to enact tax cuts, infrastructure spending and other business-friendly policies.
BIG BEAT: Wal-Mart Stores climbed 3 percent after the world's largest retailer's latest quarterly results beat Wall Street's forecasts. The company also noted that its customer traffic rose in the quarter, unlike other major retailers like Macy's and Target. Wal-Mart's shares added $2.24 to $77.36.
DISAPPOINTING RESULTS: Ascena Retail Group sank 33.8 percent after the retailer cut its forecast for its fiscal third quarter and full year, citing lagging customer traffic and other challenges. The stock lost $1.09 to $1.73.
IN A SLUMP: Cisco Systems fell 7.9 percent a day after the internet gear maker said it expects revenue in its fiscal third quarter to be down from a year earlier. The company also said it was laying off 1,100 workers in addition to the 5,500 job cuts Cisco announced last August. The stock gave up $2.68 to $31.14.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures were down 33 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $48.74 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $52.05 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro was slipped to $1.1124 from $1.1153 on Wednesday. The dollar weakened to 111.11 yen from 111.17.
TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices were little changed. The 10-year Treasury yield held steady at 2.22 percent.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.4 percent, while France's CAC 40 was 0.7 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 1.2 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 1.3 percent. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.6 percent.