Stocks edge up: S&P 500 closes in on eighth month of gains

Traders Ryan Falvey, left, and Michael Milano work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. U.S. stock indexes held steady in early trading on Tuesday following strong earnings reports from the makers of Kellogg’s cereals, Oreo cookies and others.

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stock indexes edged higher on Tuesday following stronger-than-expected earnings reports from the makers of Kellogg’s cereals, Oreo cookies and others. Markets around the world were mostly steady, while bond yields were stable and commodity prices dipped modestly.

The S&P 500 is on pace to close October with its seventh straight month of gains, which would be its longest such streak in more than four years.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,575, as of 11 a.m. Eastern time. It’s been on a gentle upward slope for most of this year, and its modest decline of 0.3 percent on Monday followed seven straight weeks of gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,373, and the Nasdaq composite rose 25 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,724.

FOOD BINGE: Several food companies were among the market’s top performers after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings.

Kellogg jumped $3.35, or 5.7 percent, to $62.22. Revenue from North America was better than some analysts expected, and the company made more in operating profit from each $1 of sales.

Mondelez International gained $2.10, or 5.3 percent, to $41.40 after it reported revenue gains in Latin America, Europe and North America.

GROWING: Fertilizer maker Mosaic jumped to the largest gain in the S&P 500. It reported earnings for the latest quarter that were well above analysts’ expectations, but it also said it will cut its dividend. Its shares rose $1.92, or 9.2 percent, to $22.77.

THREADBARE: Under Armour fell to the largest loss in the S&P 500 after it said demand for its sporting gear in North America weakened last quarter. It also lowered its forecast for earnings this year for the second time in three months. Its Class A shares fell $2.53, or 16 percent, to $13.78.

CENTRAL BANK WATCH: The Bank of Japan decided on Tuesday to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels, though it cut its outlook for inflation. It’s just one of several major central banks meeting this week on interest rates.

The Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates on Thursday, which would be the first increase in in a decade.

The Federal Reserve will wrap up a two-day meeting on Wednesday, though most economists expect it to wait until its December gathering to raise rates for the third time this year.

More attention is on President Donald Trump’s choice for the next Fed chair. He’s expected to make the announcement on Thursday, and the leading candidate appears to be Jerome “Jay” Powell, who is already a member of the Fed’s board.

BUSY WEEK AHEAD: Besides the central-bank decisions on interest rates and the expected announcement of the next Fed chair, investors are also looking for an update on progress toward Washington’s attempts to cut income-tax rates.

A cut would help boost profits for companies, and stocks of smaller companies in particular have been rising and falling in sync with expectations for tax cuts.

At the end of the week, the government will unveil the month’s most anticipated economic data, its jobs report. Economists expect to see continued strength in hiring.

In the meantime, companies continue to report their earnings results for the July-through-September quarter. More than half the companies in the S&P 500 have already reported their results, and most have come in above Wall Street’s expectations.

YIELDS: Bond yields held steady as prices for Treasurys were close to flat. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.37 percent, and the two-year yield inched up to 1.59 percent from 1.58 percent late Monday. The 30-year Treasury yield fell to 2.87 percent from 2.88 percent.

STOCKS ABROAD: The French CAC 40 rose 0.1 percent, and the FTSE 100 in London was virtually flat. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index held steady, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.3 percent and South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.9 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar from inched up to 113.44 Japanese yen from 113.18 yen late Monday. The euro ticked up to $1.1639 from $1.1637, and the British pound rose to $1.3243 from $1.3199.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil dipped 7 cents to $54.08 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 15 cents to $60.44 per barrel.

Gold slipped $7.80 to $1,269.90 per ounce, silver lost 16 cents to $16.69 per ounce and copper dipped a penny to $3.10 per pound.