Policy: Economy

US stocks edge mostly higher in early trading

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Associated Press,Economy,Wall Street

NEW YORK — Stocks were edging mostly higher in early trading on Friday, keeping the market on track for a second week of gains. Investors assessed more company earnings and the government reported a steep drop in factory output in January.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,832 as of 10:12 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 28 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,057. The Nasdaq composite fell three points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,237.

MEN'S WEAR BATTLE: Men's Wearhouse dropped $3.94, or 9 percent, to $42.62, after Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, which Men's Wearhouse had been pursuing, announced a deal of its own. Jos. A. Bank said that it was buying the parent company of Eddie Bauer. Jos. A. Bank's stock also fell, dropping 95 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $54 as investors judged an acquisition was now less likely.

FEELING THE SQUEEZE: Weight Watchers International plunged $7.91, or 25 percent, to $22.67 after it reported a big drop in earnings that was worse than analysts' had been forecasting and issued weak earnings guidance for this year. The company said that 2014 would be a "very challenging year."

FACTORY SLUMP: Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production. The Federal Reserve says factory production plunged 0.8 percent in December, reversing gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November.

TREASURYS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.75 percent from 2.73 percent Thursday. The price of oil dropped 23 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $100.11 a barrel. Gold gained $15.80, or 1.2 percent, to $1,316.10 an ounce.

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