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US stocks edge higher ahead of busy earnings week

US stocks finished a quiet day of trade with modest gains following a handful of mixed earnings report ahead of a busier economic and earnings calendar next week.

NEW YORK: US stocks on Friday finished a quiet day of trade with modest gains following a handful of mixed earnings report ahead of a busier economic and earnings calendar next week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.74 points (0.17 per cent) to 16,943.81.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 2.89 (0.15 per cent) at 1,967.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 19.29 (0.44 per cent) at 4,415.49.

The market is in "wait and see mode" ahead of next week's deluge of earnings, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Giant bank Wells Fargo dropped 0.6 per cent after second-quarter earnings of US$1.01 per share met expectations, while Fastenal, which sells industrial and construction supplies, declined 4.2 per cent after revenues of US$949.9 million missed expectations by about US$2.5 million.

Next week's earnings calendar includes reports from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Yahoo, Intel and General Electric. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will testify on the outlook for the US economy and monetary policy in Congress.

European markets rallied modestly as Portuguese officials took steps to allay fears about the country's biggest listed bank, Banco Espirito Santo. Concerns about the bank had prompted a global equity sell-off Thursday.

Online retail giant Amazon jumped 5.6 per cent after hosting a developers summit in New York on new technology that was enthusiastically reviewed by analysts. "Cloud services is one area where Amazon has an early-mover advantage," said Jefferies, which has a "buy" recommendation on the stock.

Irish company Shire Pharmaceuticals confirmed reports that it held a meeting with representative of US drugmaker AbbVie. AbbVie raised its informal takeover bid for Shire to US$51.6 billion on Tuesday; the Dublin-based company turned down previous AbbVie offers. Shire's US-traded shares gained 4.4 per cent, while AbbVie dropped 0.7 per cent.

Reynolds American is in merger talks to buy Lorillard, the tobacco companies said. Lorillard, with a market valuation of US$24 billion, rose 4.6 per cent. Reynolds fell 0.8 per cent.

Gap declined 0.8 per cent as it said June comparable-store sales fell two per cent. The performance at the retailer's Old Navy chain was "stellar," but results were "softer" at its Gap and Banana Republic brands, the company said.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.52 per cent from 2.54 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year fell to 3.34 per cent from 3.37 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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