NEW YORK — Stocks are inching higher Wednesday morning after a survey showed that hiring by private companies continued at a solid but unspectacular clip in July. Banks are rising the most. The morning's biggest losses are going to household goods makers, phone and utility companies, which are typically considered safe investments.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average added 13.32 points to 18,327 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 1.25 points to 2,158. The Nasdaq composite rose 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,142. The Dow has fallen for seven days in a row.
HIRING: A survey by ADP said that private U.S. payrolls grew by 179,000 in July as companies like retailers and shipping firms brought on more workers. The total suggests employers continue to hire new workers and that employers are hiring workers at a faster pace than they were this spring, when hiring slowed down sharply.
Still, economic growth has been sluggish this year and there are signs there aren't many available workers to fill jobs. Economists forecast that the government's jobs report, which will be released Friday, will show a gain of 175,000 jobs.
BAGGED: Kate Spade skidded $3.69, or 18.3 percent, to $16.45 after the clothing, handbag and accessories accompany disclosed weak results and lowered its estimates for the year.
CROCS ROCKED: Footwear maker Crocs plunged. It reported a smaller-than-expected profit in the second quarter and its sales fell $25 million short of estimates. Its third quarter sales forecast fell ever further below analyst estimates. The stock gave up $1.87, or 17 percent, to $9.13.
HANES DOWN: Underwear, t-shirt and sock maker Hanesbrands reported disappointing results, and its shares lost 39 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $25.26.
GOING FOR A JOG: Fitness tracker maker Fitbit Inc. rebounded after its quarterly results came in stronger than expected. The stock rose $1.37, or 10.4 percent, to $14.53 in morning trading. It has lost more than half its value this year. Fitbit went public in June 2015 with an IPO that priced at $20 a share and was trading around $50 per share a year ago.
ETSY EARNINGS: Etsy climbed $1.14, or 9 percent, to $13.85. The online crafts marketplace said sales were better than expected and raised its sales and other projections for the year.
POKEMON POWER: Zagg, a mobile device accessory company that bought smartphone charger company Mophie earlier this year, reported an unexpected profit and sales that were stronger than estimates. Among other factors, it said the "Pokemon Go" craze boosted its sales as players needed to recharge their phones more often. The stock rose 84 cents, or 13.2 percent, to $7.20.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 43 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $39.94 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 42 cents, or 1 percent, to $42.22 a barrel in London.
OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 dipped 0.5 percent while Germany's DAX was little changed. Britain's FTSE 100 edged down 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 1.9 percent and South Korea's Kospi lost 1.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 1.8 percent. Japanese stocks have been slipping because the country's recently-announced stimulus package, worth around $272 billion, fell short of expectations. Much of the money is already in the pipeline. Meanwhile a strong yen is also deepening pessimism over prospects for Japan's recovery.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices were flat and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 1.56 percent. The dollar rose to 101.19 yen from 100.88 yen. The euro fell to $1.1183 from $1.1227.