S&P 500 inches higher, heads for first gain in 5 days

Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street, breaking a four-day losing streak for the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Facebook rose 2.3 percent, while Boeing climbed 1.3 percent. Pioneer Natural Resources rose 2.4 percent.

Strong earnings growth has been one of the main reasons for the almost 18 percent rise in the S&P 500 this year, along with the improving global economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 109 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,180.

The Nasdaq composite gained 36.47, or 0.5 percent, to 6,812.84. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32 percent from 2.34 percent late Wednesday.

USA stock indexes perked higher on Thursday following a almost weeklong lull, and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose for the first time in five days.

Small-company stocks fell more than the rest of the market.

MARKETS ABROAD: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.4 percent following its worst day since March, a 2 percent loss.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,631, as of 10:05 a.m. The Nasdaq composite rose 48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,824.

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Hornets' Cody Zeller has torn medial meniscus in left knee, out indefinitely
The team will also be without another big man in Frank Kaminsky against the Chicago Bulls tonight, still nursing a sprained ankle. All of this is another blow for a 9-14 Hornets team that is fighting to get back into the playoff picture in the East.

The top-performing sector this year, the S&P 500 information technology index had fallen almost 3% since 28 November, with some investors cautious about high earnings multiples.

YIELDS: Treasury fell as prices for government bonds rose.

Wall Street pushed higher on Thursday, buoyed by popular technology companies including Facebook and Alphabet, on the eve of the closely-watched U.S. jobs report for November.

Chipmaker Broadcom rose 3.1 percent in early trading Thursday after reporting a strong quarter.

That helped offset drops in telecom stocks and other parts of the market Tuesday. The euro ticked up to $1.1795 from $1.1793, and the British pound rose to $1.3413 from $1.3375.

Merck rose 1.2 percent after the New England Journal of Medicine published positive results from a trial of one of its drugs.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up a point at 2,630.

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