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Wall Street edges up as energy rebounds; early earnings weak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday as a rebound in the price of crude oil lifted energy shares, though strength in the U.S. dollar and uncertainty over the coming earnings season limited the day’s gains.

Seven of the SP 500’s ten industry sectors rose on the day, though gains were largely shallow. Markets have struggled for direction of late, with investors seeing limited upside potential in equities, but also few alternatives for yield.

Recent economic data has been mixed, with the stronger numbers backing the idea that the Federal Reserve should begin raising interest rates and weak data possibly indicating less economic readiness for a rate hike. Jobless claims rose in the latest week, though the rise was smaller than anticipated.

Alcoa Inc (AA.N), whose report is considered the informal start to earnings season, fell 3.9 percent to $13.14 a day after it reported revenue that missed expectations. Bed Bath Beyond (BBBY.O), which also reported weaker-than-expected results late Wednesday, fell 6.2 percent to $72.85.

“We’re positioned for an upside move as expectations have been lowered to the point where we’re set up for a positive surprise, though there is a risk in some of these early reporters setting a negative tone,” said Jim

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