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Apr 21, 10:25 AM EDT

Stocks edge higher as another big week for earnings starts; Newmont jumps on merger reports

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Stocks edge higher as another big week for earnings starts; Newmont jumps on merger reports

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks edged higher Monday at the start of another major week for company earnings. The Standard & Poor's 500 index had its best week since July last week as first-quarter corporate earnings began to come in.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,868 in the first 45 minutes of trading. The Down Jones industrial average gained 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,439. The Nasdaq composite climbed three points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,098.

BIG MINING: Newmont Mining surged $1.60, or 6.8 percent, to $25.15 following reports that the mining company was considering a merger with Barrick Gold.

OIL TURNAROUND: Halliburton rose $2.37, or 4 percent, to $63.29 after the company said it was profitable in the first-quarter after reporting a loss for the period a year ago. A year ago, the company reported a loss that included a charge for setting aside money for litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

THE EARNINGS TRAIN: More companies are scheduled to report first-quarter earnings this week. Netflix will release its earnings after the closing bell. Companies including McDonald's, Delta Air Lines and Ford are also among those scheduled to release their results this week. S&P 500 companies are forecast to report a 1.1 percent decline in earnings for the period, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

TREASURIES AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.70 percent from 2.72 percent on Friday. The price of oil rose 25 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $104.52 a barrel.

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