Wall St edges up in thin trade

Investors sent markets marginally higher in holiday trading, weighing their next moves after last week's strong gains.

US stocks edged higher as investors weighed their next move after last week's strong gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 19 points, or 0.1%, to 15,781 in afternoon trading, after inching lower at the open. On Friday, the Dow surged 168 points, or 1.1%, closing at a record high after better-than-expected October jobs data.

The S&P 500 was up a point at 1,772, while the Nasdaq Composite Index reversed an early loss to rise three points, or 0.1%, to 3922.

"We've been told all along not to make much of one month's numbers, especially a noisy month like we had, but this is a momentum market," said Scott Armiger, president of Christiana Trust. "This market has just been shrugging off any negative news and really rolling on the good news."

Last week's rally was fueled by growing confidence in the US employment picture after the Labour Department said employers added 204,000 jobs in October.

"The economic data hasn't been quite as weak as people thought because of the government closure," said Ken Taubes, a portfolio manager at financial advisor Pioneer Investments in Boston, adding that he is keeping equity allocations high. "Global growth looks OK, maybe better than [it has] been."

No major economic releases are scheduled for Monday because of the Veteran's Day holiday. The highlight of the coming week will be Federal Reserve chairwoman nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing on Thursday in front of the US Senate banking committee.

ViroPharma soared more than 20% after the company agreed to be acquired by Dublin-based Shire for $US4.2 billion ($4.5 billion). Shire's US-listed shares gained modestly.

Twitter rose slightly, reversing an early loss. On Friday, the microblogging service slid 7.2% on its second day as a public company but still closed 60% above its $US26 initial public offering price.

On Monday, Sterne Agee initiated coverage of Twitter with a "neutral" rating, saying the shares should be worth at least $US25 to $US32 in the next 12 to 24 months.

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