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Apr 24, 4:12 PM EDT

Stocks edge higher in choppy trading as companies report better earnings; Apple gains

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are finishing slightly higher, led by the technology sector after Apple reported a big earnings gain.

Apple also announced a stock split, a dividend increase and a larger share repurchase program. The stock gained 8 percent. Caterpillar also rose 2 percent after posting better-than-expected results.

3M was among those companies whose results disappointed investors. 3M finished down 1 percent. Defense contractor Raytheon also fell 4 percent after its results fell short of forecasts.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,878 Thursday.

The Dow Jones industrial average was unchanged at 16,501. The Nasdaq composite rose 21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,148.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was flat at 2.70 percent.

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