By STEVE ROTHWELL
AP Markets Writer NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks edged higher Thursday as investors assessed the latest batch of company earnings reports. There was also encouraging news on hiring as the Labor Department reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits is in decline.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 57 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,573 as of 11 a.m. Eastern time. Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed seven points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,884 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 26 points to 4,093.
MORNING JOE: Keurig Green Mountain climbed $12.75, or 14 percent, to $104.83 after the company reported earnings that exceeded the estimates of analysts. Keurig, known for its single-serve coffee brewing system, said late Wednesday that its net income climbed 22 percent in the fiscal second quarter.
SUPER BOWL BOOST: Twenty-First Century Fox rose $1.94, or 6.1 percent, to $34.07 after the company reported earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations. Fox's television unit got a boost from higher advertising revenue during the National Football League playoffs and the Super Bowl.
FORD BUYBACK: Ford gained 39 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $15.79 after the automaker said it will buy back up to $1.8 billion of its own stock. Ford says the buybacks will help offset potential dilution from convertible debt and stock-based compensation for employees.
CLAIMS FALL: The U.S. government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 26,000 last week to 319,000, the latest sign that the job market is slowly improving. The drop follows two weeks of increases that reflected mostly temporary layoffs around the Easter holiday.
FRONTIER MARKETS: Vietnam's main stock market index fell 5.9 percent, its biggest one-day drop since 2001, on fears of a protracted stalemate or possible conflict with China over oil drilling in disputed South China Sea waters. China insisted Thursday it had every right to drill for oil off Vietnam's coast and warned its neighbor to leave the area around the deep-sea rig where Chinese and Vietnamese ships are engaged in a tense standoff.
BONDS AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged from 2.59 percent on Wednesday. The yield, which is used to set interest rates on loans including home mortgages, is near its lowest level of the year. The price of oil fell 66 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $100.09 a barrel.