US stock push higher in midday trading

ALEX VEIGA
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Trader Robert McQuade works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday, June 20, 2014. Stocks are slightly higher in early trading as the market heads for a week of solid gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Major stock indexes were on track to extend gains for the week, inching higher in midday trading Friday. CarMax was among the biggest gainers as investors applauded the auto dealership operator's latest quarterly earnings. Oracle tumbled after the software maker's earnings fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,962 as of 12:07 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 43 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,964. The Nasdaq composite gained one point to 4,360.

THE QUOTE: Drew Wilson, equity analyst with Fenimore Asset Management, said the market appears to be shrugging off worries about geopolitical concerns in Iraq and Ukraine, focusing instead on specific company performance.

"It's mostly been this tug-of-war of companies in the indexes," Wilson said. "It's this daily churn, which is one of the reason we have such low volatility."

NEW HIGHS: The S&P 500 index notched an all-time high for the second day in a row Thursday. The index is up 6.2 percent this year and on track to gain 1.4 percent for the week.

SECTOR VIEW: Six of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index were moving higher, led by health care stocks. Consumer discretionary stocks fell the most.

SMOOTH RIDE: CarMax vaulted 17.2 percent after the used car dealership operator reported a 16 percent jump in first-quarter earnings, easily beating Wall Street estimates. The stock gained $7.79 to $53.07. Shares in rival AutoNation rose $1.78, or 3.1 percent, to $58.29.

DISAPPOINTS: Oracle sank 5.2 percent after the software maker reported disappointing quarterly earnings late Thursday. One financial analyst covering the company, Citigroup's Walter Pritchard, stripped Oracle of his "buy" rating and reduced his price target on the stock to $41 from $44. Oracle's shares slumped $2.20 to $40.31.

MISSED: Darden Restaurants said its quarterly profit plunged 35 percent, dragged down by charges tied to its plan to overhaul its business. The company plans to sell its Red Lobster restaurants to the investment firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion. The quarterly results fell short of analysts' forecasts, and Darden's shares tumbled $1.30, or 2.6 percent, to $48.21.

OVER THERE: Major stock markets in Europe were mixed. France's CAC 40 slipped 0.5 percent, while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British stocks gained 0.4 percent.

BONDS: U.S. government bonds prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.62 percent.