US stocks edge higher as investors weigh data on US home sales, China and Europe

MarketsAssociated Press

Stock indexes are drifting higher following a pickup in U.S. home sales.

Traders were also weighing a decline in weekly applications for unemployment benefits Thursday and soft economic data out of China and Europe.

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Best Buy rose 8 percent after its quarterly results came in far ahead of what analysts were expecting. That bodes well for the holiday shopping season in the U.S.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,052 as of 11:55 a.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,696. The Nasdaq composite added 23 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,698.

Homebuilder stocks rose after sales of U.S. homes increased last month. Beazer Homes rose 3 percent.