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Stocks up for fourth consecutive day

NEW YORK — Stocks rose for a fourth day today after China renewed Google Inc.’s license to operate in the country.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 35 points in morning trading after posting its biggest three-day advance since mid-May.

The renewal of Google’s license was in doubt because of a strained relationship between the company and China’s government over censorship of search results. Google rose 2 percent in morning trading.

News on the economy wasn’t as upbeat. Inventories held by wholesalers rose in May for a fifth straight month although sales dropped for the first time in more than a year. The government said wholesale inventories increased 0.5 percent and sales dropped 0.3 percent. It was the first drop since March 2009, when major stock indexes hit a 12-year low.

The moderate buying came as investors prepared for earnings reports that start next week. Traders often avoid making big bets just before earnings releases because the reports provide a good picture of how companies are performing. Forecasts for future growth will be scrutinized because disappointing economic reports in recent months have called into question the pace of a recovery.

Investors will want to know whether companies are feeling the effects of slower growth and whether corporations believe the recovery will gain momentum in the coming months. Stocks consistently fell over the past couple of months because data showed the economy was growing, but not as fast as had been forecast.

Earnings season kicks off with aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. on Monday. Other companies scheduled to release results next week include banking giants JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. General Electric Co. and chipmaker Intel Corp. are also scheduled to report earnings next week.

Overseas markets rose after a surprise interest rate hike in South Korea was seen as a sign of confidence that the global economy will continue expand. Central banks around the world, including the U.S., have kept rates at historically low rates to stimulate growth.

In midmorning trading, the Dow rose 37.16, or 0.4 percent, to 10,176.15. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.74, or 0.4 percent, to 1,074.99, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 10.89, or 0.5 percent, to 2,186.29.

Stocks jumped for a third straight day yesterday after a better-than-expected report on weekly jobless claims. Weak employment reports over the past two months had often sent stocks lower, so the steep drop in claims for unemployment benefits was a welcome sign that maybe significant job growth could occur this year.

The Dow rose nearly 121 points yesterday and is up nearly 5 percent for the holiday-shortened week.

Bond prices traded in a tight range. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, was unchanged at 3.04 percent compared with late yesterday.

Google rose $9.41, or 2.1 percent, to $465.97.

Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 157 million shares.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 3.28, or 0.5 percent, to 623.55.


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