Stocks edge up on signs of manufacturing growth

In this Dec. 14, 2010 photo, trader Glenn Kessler works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo)

SymbolPriceChangeACL165.20+2.77Chart for Alcon Inc Common SharesCAT93.82+1.73Chart for Caterpillar, Inc. Common StockMCO27.30-0.03Chart for Moody's Corporation Common StocNVS58.62+2.79Chart for Novartis AG Common StockR49.73+2.69Chart for Ryder System, Inc. Common Stock{“s” : “acl,cat,mco,nvs,r”,”k” : “a00,a50,b00,b60,c10,g00,h00,l10,p20,t10,v00″,”o” : “”,”j” : “”}

NEW YORK (AP) — Signs that the U.S. manufacturing industry is growing and inflation remains under control helped lift stock indexes Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve said U.S. factory output rose for the fifth straight month in November. A separate report showed that consumer prices hardly moved last month. The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index rose just 0.1 percent, slightly below what economists expected.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34.78 points, or 0.3 percent, to 11,511.32. Caterpillar Inc. rose 2.2 percent to lead the index.

The broader Standard Poor’s 500 index rose 0.2, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,241.80. Utilities companies had the largest move out of the 10 company groups that make up the index. They fell 0.6 percent.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 7.07, or 0.3 percent, to 2,634.79.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 3.45 percent. That yield helps set interest rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans.

Bond yields have been rising since early October because investors expect the economy to improve. They also anticipate higher budget deficits because of the tax cut package brokered by the White House and Congressional Republicans.

European markets fell after the rating agency Moody’s warned that it may lower Spain’s credit rating. The Euro Stoxx 50, which tracks blue chip companies in countries that use the euro, fell 0.5 percent.

In corporate news, Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said it was getting closer to buying the remaining shares of eye care company Alcon Inc. that it doesn’t already own. Shares in Alcon rose 1.7 percent to $165.19. Novartis rose 4.9 percent to $56.25.

Transportation company Ryder System Inc. rose 6.1 percent to $49.91 after RBC rose its price target because of increasing demand in the company’s commercial leasing business.

The dollar rose 0.6 percent against an index of six heavily traded currencies.

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