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Stocks are mostly higher in choppy trading as companies report better earnings; Apple gains

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NEW YORK — Stocks are mostly higher in midday trading, led by the technology sector after Apple reported a big earnings gain.

Apple also announced a stock split, a dividend increase and a larger share repurchase program. The stock gained 8 percent. Caterpillar also rose after posting better-than-expected results.

PHOTO: Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, April 24, 2014. Mixed earnings from a large number of U.S. companies left the stock market without direction early Thursday, despite positive results from a handful of names including Apple and Caterpillar. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, April 24, 2014. Mixed earnings from a large number of U.S. companies left the stock market without direction early Thursday, despite positive results from a handful of names including Apple and Caterpillar. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

3M was among those companies whose results disappointed investors. Defense contractor Raytheon also fell after its results came up short of forecasts.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose six points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,882 as of noon Eastern time Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 29 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,474. The Nasdaq composite rose 31 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,157.

Bond prices fell slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.71 percent.

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