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US stock market inches higher at midday after United, Ford and others report better results

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NEW YORK — The stock market is rising at midday as a slew of companies report stronger earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,100 as of 12 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,990. The Nasdaq advanced 10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,483.

Facebook rose 7 percent and was the third-biggest gainer in the S&P 500 after beating earnings expectations late Wednesday.

United Continental Holdings jumped 3 percent. United Airlines profit in the second quarter topped expectations and marked a turnaround from the first quarter, when it was the only major U.S. carrier to report a loss.

The Labor Department said weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped to their lowest reading since February 2006.

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