U.S. stocks inched up Thursday as smaller retailers and banks traded higher and energy companies rose with fuel prices. For the second day in a row, the market was unable to hang on to more substantial gains from earlier in the day.
Strong reports from companies including Bed Bath & Beyond and the parent of Victoria's Secret helped retailers. Energy companies rose with the prices of oil and natural gas, and banks recovered some of the sharp losses they took a day earlier.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up as much as 98 points midsession. However, high-dividend stocks skidded and technology companies fell.
Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank...