US STOCKS-Indexes inch higher with earnings in sight

* Google shares jump as China renews license

* Wholesale inventories rise, sales fall in May

* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 500 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]

(Updates to market open)

By Edward Krudy

NEW YORK, July 9 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose slightly on
Friday as Wall Street looked for a fourth straight session of
gains ahead of the start of earnings season next week.

Most of the advances in the holiday-shortened week, marked
by volatility and low volume, were driven by hopes that U.S.
corporations will post strong quarterly results when Alcoa Inc
(AA.N: ) starts reporting season on Monday. Alcoa’s shares, a
component of the Dow index, rose 1.4 percent.

Google Inc (Read more about Google Stock Analysis) (GOOG.O: ) shares added 2.2 percent after it said
the Chinese government renewed Google’s website license,
averting a shutdown of its search page in the world’s biggest
Internet market. Shares of local rival Baidu Inc (BIDU.O: ) fell
1.9 percent. For details, see [ID:nTOE66807M]

The S&P 500 was on course for its best week this year, but
sentiment remained fragile, with many investors concerned the
global economy could slip back into recession. Even with the
gains on Friday the S&P 500 is still down 12 percent since
April and down 4 percent this year.

Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W
Baird & Co in Nashville, said that after this week’s move the
S&P 500 could be set to rise just above the 1,100 level.

“We’ve got more room on the upside before this little move
is over with,” he said. “The carrot is earnings, and I think
the catalyst is the oversold condition we had and the pessimism
that built up in recent weeks.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was up 22.71
points, or 0.22 percent, at 10,161.70. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) was up 2.25 points, or 0.21 percent, at
1,072.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was up 5.89
points, or 0.27 percent, at 2,181.29.

The S&P was on course to close its best week since July
2009, but Bittles warned about making too much of that. “It’s
very hard to read into these markets because of all the games
that are played in low volume,” he said.

Sales of U.S. wholesale goods fell unexpectedly for the
first time in more than a year, lifting inventories to their
highest level in 11 months, a government report showed on
Friday. [ID:nN09265120]

Recent U.S. data showing slowing growth in the services and
manufacturing sector, weakness in housing and a stagnating jobs
market has worried investors, although most say it is too early
to call a “double-dip” recession.

“If there is some kind of double-dip out there to be had I
don’t think it’s imminent, I’m not saying there’s a 90-percent
chance – there’s a 50-percent chance,” said Kim Caughey, senior
equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in
Pittsburgh.

Equity funds worldwide suffered more than $11 billion in
net outflows in the first week of July, while money market
funds saw the biggest inflows in 18 months amid fears of a
double-dip recession, fund tracker EPFR Global said.
[ID:nTOE668038]
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Indexes inch higher with earnings in sight