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Stocks Edge Up After Latest US Growth Numbers

by Matthew Craft
Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Slightly better economic growth and and stronger housing sales helped nudge the stock market up in early Wednesday trading.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up six points to 13,110 shortly after 10 a.m. EDT.

Major indexes opened slightly higher after the government said the economy grew at a slightly faster pace in the spring than first thought.

The U.S. economy expanded at a 1.7 percent annual rate from April through June thanks to slightly stronger consumer spending and exports. That's better than the initial estimate of 1.5 percent. But it's not enough to put a dent in the unemployment rate.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points to 1,411, while the Nasdaq composite index inched up three points to 3,080.

Crude oil dipped back below $96. Hurricane Isaac made landfall Tuesday night, but its heavy winds and rain aren't expected to damage oil production and refinery operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Association of Realtors said its index of sales for previously owned homes jumped 2.4 percent in July, reaching its highest level since April 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal tax credit.

A handful of companies reported earnings Wednesday. H.J. Heinz posted a 14 percent jump in quarterly net income, driven by higher prices and emerging-market sales.

Among other stocks making big moves:

- Joy Global sank 6 percent, the biggest drop in the S&P 500. The supplier of coal mining equipment reported results early Wednesday that missed analysts' estimates and also cut its full-year earnings outlook as demand for coal in the U.S. and China slows. The company's stock lost $3 to $50.08.

- Sealed Air Corp. jumped 8 percent, the S&P 500's biggest gain, after the food packaging company said a former Dow Chemical executive would take over when its current CEO retires. The former Dow executive has experience with mergers, and Sealed Air bought a cleaning and sanitation company last year. The company's stock gained $1 to an even $14.

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