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Stocks edge higher, continue September rally

NEW YORK CITY— Stocks edged higher Friday as investors placed more bets that the economy will continue to grow.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41 points in very light morning trading. Broader indexes also rose, and Treasury prices eased as traders became more willing to take on risk.

While the economy is not robust by any measure, a series of reports have come in ahead of economists’ estimates and eased fears that the economy would fall back into recession. The market is now headed for its seventh day of gains out of the past eight.

“It’s becoming more evident that confidence by consumers and the labor market is improving,” said Tim Speiss, chairman of Eisner LLP’s Personal Wealth Advisors practice. “It’s tepid; It’s weak; But it’s progress.”

The market got another dose of positive news on the economy Friday when the Commerce Department reported that wholesale inventories and sales increased sharply in July, well ahead of expectations. It’s a bullish sign when wholesalers build up inventories because it indicates they expect retail sales will pick up.

The market’s September rally has paused only once so far, when concerns resurfaced about European banks. European markets fluctuated Friday after a report that German banking giant Deutsche Bank is considering raising new cash through a stock sale. The report came out Thursday afternoon, so U.S. markets already had a chance to react to the news.

The Dow rose 41.40, or 0.4 percent, to 10,456.64 in late morning trading. The Dow has jumped more than 4 percent already this month, but is nearly flat for the year and still down 7 percent from its highest level of the year reached April 26.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 5.40, or 0.5 percent, to 1,109.58, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 6.83, or 0.3 percent, to 2,243.03.

About five stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume was extremely low at 194.1 million shares. Volume will likely remain light Friday because of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. Low volume can exaggerate market movements.

Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent, Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 percent, and France’s CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent.

Bond prices dipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.80 percent from 2.76 percent late Thursday. Its yield is used to help set interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.