Stock market edges higher in afternoon trading

U.S. financial markets inched higher in light trading Friday afternoon, recouping small losses from earlier in the day. Investors weighed reports that gave a mixed picture of the U.S. economy and better-than-expected company earnings

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,001 as of 1:03 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained five points to 17,084. The Nasdaq composite climbed 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,574.

HOLIDAY MODE: "There's not much buying going on, so we can't necessarily trust it, whether it's up or down," said Linda Duessel, senior equity market strategist at Federated Investors.

FEELING BETTER: The University of Michigan's latest index of consumer sentiment rose to 82.5 in July from 81.8 in the previous month. The increase reflects greater optimism about jobs and rising incomes, largely among higher-income groups.

BUT LESS SPENDING: Consumer spending edged down 0.1 percent in July, the first monthly decline since January, the Commerce Department reported. Fewer auto sales accounted for most of the weakness. At the same time, income growth slowed to 0.2 percent in July, the weakest showing in seven months.

SECTOR VIEW: Eight of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by utilities. Industrial stocks fell the most.

CHIPPER CHIP MAKER: Avago Technologies, which makes semiconductors used in smartphones, computer servers and other devices, jumped 8.8 percent after reporting earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The stock rose $6.69 to $83.05.

BRIGHTER OUTLOOK: Splunk soared 18.2 percent after the data management software developer reported earnings late Thursday that beat expectations. It also raised its full-year profit and revenue estimates. The stock gained $8.25 to $53.56.

CHARGED UP: Tesla Motors and a state-owned Chinese phone carrier announced plans Friday to build 400 charging stations for electric cars in a bid to promote adoption of the technology in China. Tesla increased $6.69, or 2.5 percent, to $270.55.

SEPTEMBER LOOMS: September is widely considered the stock market's worst month. Since World War II, the S&P 500 index has ended the month with a loss half of the time. Recently, however, September has been good to investors. The S&P 500 has turned in a September loss just twice in the last decade: in the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 and following a fight over raising the government's borrowing limit in 2011.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.33 percent from 2.34 late Thursday. Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.11, or 1.2 percent, to $95.66 a barrel in New York. Gold slipped $4.20 to $1,286.20 an ounce.