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US stocks edge up, European markets gain after ECB upgrades outlook and unveils stimulus

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NEW YORK — Positive earnings news nudged stocks higher, breaking a two-day losing streak.

Supermarket operator Kroger jumped 7 percent Thursday after reporting income that was ahead of what analysts were looking for. Costco rose 3 percent after its earnings beat estimates.

PHOTO: Traders Christopher Morie, left, and Tommy Kalikas work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 5, 2015. U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, led by gains for utilities and health care companies.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Traders Christopher Morie, left, and Tommy Kalikas work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 5, 2015. U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, led by gains for utilities and health care companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,135.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained two points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,101. The Nasdaq composite rose 15 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,982.

Utilities and financial companies rose more than the rest of the market.

Joy Global had one of the biggest falls in the S&P 500. The manufacturer of mining equipment missed earnings estimates and said a global slump in commodity prices continues to hurt its business.

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