Stocks edge up in morning trade on earnings gains and hope for European stimulus; Yahoo surges

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Specialist Michael Gagliano, left, calls out prices as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Stocks are opening mixed as investors look over earnings reports from U.S. companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

A specialist works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. Stocks are opening mixed as investors look over earnings reports from U.S. companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Wall Street is etched in the facade of a building in New York's Financial District, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Hopes for fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank and China's steady growth bolstered Asian stocks Wednesday Oct. 22, 2014 after the S&P 500 had its best day of the year. European markets drifted lower. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK — Good news on corporate earnings nudged U.S. stocks higher Wednesday morning, a day after the Standard and Poor's 500 index had its best day of the year. Investors were also encouraged by a government report showing U.S. inflation is low and by hopes for new stimulus measures from the European Central Bank.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average barely moved, up just seven points to 16,662 as of 11:07 a.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 climbed three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,944 and the Nasdaq composite climbed seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,426.

YAHOO SURGE: Yahoo jumped $2.41, or 6 percent, to $42.59 after reporting encouraging third-quarter results late Tuesday. Yahoo got a windfall from the recent IPO of Alibaba, the giant Chinese online retailer that Yahoo owns a stake in. Revenue rose slightly from the previous year, a welcome change for a company that has been posting quarterly declines for most of the past five years.

BROADCOM JUMPS: The semiconductor company jumped 7 percent, the largest gain in the S&P 500, after reporting earnings late Tuesday that topped Wall Street estimates. The stock rose $2.62 to $39.95.

DOW RISE: Dow Chemical rose 69 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $48.90 after the specialty chemical maker reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

LOW INFLATION: The government reported that consumer prices rose 1.7 percent in the year to September, below the 2 percent target set by the Federal Reserve. Low inflation has allowed the central bank to keep rates at record lows to help the economy by encouraging lending and hiring.

EUROPE STIMULUS: As the region teeters on the brink of recession again, speculation is growing that the European Central Bank will step up its purchases of bonds, which puts downward pressure on interest rates. Analysts say the ECB is believed to be buying Italian bonds and might be planning to expand that program to other nations.

"Considering the weakness in Europe, the prospect of an increase (in bond purchases) is real," said IG strategist Evan Lucas.

EUROPEAN STOCKS: Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent and France's CAC 40 gained 0.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent.

BIG DAY IN ASIA: Asian stock indexes rose sharply. Japan's Nikkei 225 soared 2.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.1 percent.

ENERGY AND BONDS: Oil prices held steady after weeks of declines. The benchmark U.S. crude contract lost 40 cents to $82.09 a barrel in New York. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.23 percent from 2.22 percent.

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