Stocks managed modest gains Thursday as investors saw a series of corporate acquisitions as a chance to pick up bargains in an otherwise difficult market. Another new high for oil prices muted the gains.
General Electric's $1.6 billion investment in a Turkish bank and Johnson Controls' takeover of York International assured investors that corporate America is still willing to spend money to expand, even in uncertain economic times.
Yet oil again weighed on investors. Crude futures reached $68 per barrel overnight and settled at a record high for a second straight session -- feeding Wall Street's chronic concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending and economic growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.76, or 0.15 percent, to 10,450.63. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained 2.78, or 0.2 percent, to 1212.37, and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 5.46, or 0.3 percent, to 2134.37.
General Electric fell 4 cents, to $33.50, as rising oil prices pressured industrial stocks. However, GE's purchase of a 25.5 percent share in Garanti Bank, Turkey's third-largest privately owned bank, was seen as a positive as the company expands its consumer finance business overseas.
York International surged 36 percent, or $15.04, to $56.79, after Johnson Controls announced a $2.4 billion cash buyout of the company, which would double Johnson's presence in building heating and air-conditioning markets. Johnson Controls climbed $2.76, to $59.53.
Best Buy, the top U.S. electronics retailer, gained $1.31, to $46.75. A gauge of retailers had the second-biggest rally in the S&P 500 among two dozen industry groups. Lowe's, the No. 2 home-improvement retailer, advanced $1.32, to $64.19.
Eastman Kodak fell 4 cents, to $25, after saying it will slash 900 jobs in Rochester, N.Y., and in China as it consolidates its color photographic paper manufacturing.
Toll Brothers fell $1.90, to $48.10, despite reporting third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts, with profit doubling from a year ago.
New York Stock Exchange composite index rose 17.16, to 7434.58.
American Stock Exchange index rose 9.04, to 1627.72.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 2.69, to 657.70.
NYSE: 1.58 billion shares, down from 1.95 billion on Wednesday. Advancers outnumbered decliners 10 to 7.
Nasdaq: 1.33 billion shares, down from 1.74 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners 7 to 6.
Crude oil for October delivery: $67.49, up 17 cents.
Gold for current delivery: $438.40 a troy ounce, up from $437.30 on Wednesday.