United States stock indexes edge higher as oil's dismal week eases

The S&P 500 slipped 1.11 points, or 0.05 percent, to end at 2,434.50, with consumer staples leading seven sectors lower and health care outperforming. Newcrest Mining is rising 0.5 percent, while Evolution Mining is losing nearly 1 percent.

CRUDE STASIS? Benchmark U.S. crude rose 40 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $42.93 per barrel.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 added 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,439, as of 11:30 a.m.

The S&P energy index .SPNY is the worst performing sector so far this year, having lost about 15 percent.

Markets this week have been dominated by oil's tumbling price and worries about how much it will affect the broader market.

EQT, a producer of natural gas and crude, rose to the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 57.11, or 0.3 percent, to 21,410.03, and the Nasdaq composite rose 45.92, or 0.7 percent to 6,233.95.

The Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was up 6.31 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,240.26.

They followed the price of oil higher, as benchmark US crude rose 35 cents to $43.09 per barrel. Inflation remains stubbornly below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target, even as the central bank adopts a hawkish tone regarding future rate hikes."I've been more anxious about deflation".

More than twice as many stocks rose as fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

Health-care companies joined the climb throughout the week, including Thursday when Senate Republicans unveiled their plans to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

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Though Jackson has not worked out for the Celtics , it was reported Wednesday that the team had received his medical information. However, that still gives Boston a top level draft pick. "Jayson's a talented player", Kennard said.

Technology companies, meanwhile, are forecast to report strong growth in the upcoming earnings season, and Oracle's profit report on Wednesday sailed past analysts' expectations.

"There's now a bit of a concern that energy companies will not be able to meet earnings forecasts going forward for the year", said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. But as long as oil's price can hold close to where it is, "that's good enough given that there's corporate profit growth everywhere else", Chiavarone said.

Investors are watching the energy market closely as it has been critical for the earnings recovery in the U.S. The sector is expected to account for almost half of the S&P 500's earnings growth in the second quarter, according to FactSet.

Wall Street also kept an eye crude prices as they tried to bounce back from back-to-back sell-offs.

The 10-year Treasury yield held steady at 2.16 percent. The two-year fell to 1.34 percent from 1.35 percent, and the 30-year yield held steady at 2.73 percent.

In corporate news, shares of Bed Bath & Beyond fell 12% after its late Thursday earnings missed expectations, the latest disappointing quarterly results from a retailer. Japan's Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent, South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong slipped 0.1 percent.

MARKETS ABROAD: In Europe, the French CAC 40 fell 0.2 per cent, the German DAX dipped 0.1 per cent and the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.3 per cent.

A monthly survey revealed that economic activity in the 19-country Eurozone slipped to a five-month low in June and below market expectations.

The British pound rose to $1.2668 from $1.2629 late Tuesday.

In the commodities markets, gold rose $2.30 to settle at $1,245.80 per ounce, silver slipped 4 cents to $16.37 per ounce and copper added 5 cents to $2.60 per pound. Natural gas gained 4 cents to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil was close to flat at $1.38 per gallon and wholesale gasoline was virtually unchanged at $1.43 per gallon.

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