US stocks edge higher amid cautious trading

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 23, 2016.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Aug 23, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks edged higher Tuesday (Aug 23), but the tone of trade remained cautious ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech on the economy at the end of the week.

Electronics retailer Best Buy grabbed the most attention, rocketing 19.4 per cent after its second quarter profits handily beat forecasts and the company boosted its outlook for the rest of the year.

But drugmaker Mylan Pharmaceuticals sank 4.8 per cent after US legislators called for probes into the skyrocketing price of its near-monopoly EpiPen, which severe allergy sufferers use to counter extreme allergic reactions.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1 per cent at 18,547.30.

The broader S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent at 2,186.90, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3 per cent at 5,260.08.

Wall Street followed European shares higher, supported by August purchasing managers index readings for the eurozone that suggested that Britain's June vote to exit the European Union has had little concrete economic impact so far.

But traders were careful as analysts wait to see what tone Yellen sets for US monetary policy and future rate hikes at the Fed's central banking symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday.

"In the newsflow, nothing gave anyone a reason to sell or to do too much in the market," said Mace Blicksilver of Marblehead Asset Management.

"We have had a gentle breeze up since late June. And at the moment, there is nothing to slow it." Nike topped gainers on the Dow, adding 1.6 per cent after making a strong splash at the Brazil Olympics.

Walmart led the Dow losers with a 1 per cent fall.