US stocks edge higher ahead of Obama speech

US stocks edged higher Tuesday as markets awaited President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, expecting him to outline the economic priorities for his second term.

After an hour of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 22.65 points (0.16 percent) at 13,993.89.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.39 point (0.09 percent) to 1,518.40, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 1.70 (0.05 percent) at 3,193.70.

Stocks had opened flat, after drifting barely lower Monday.

Investors will be watching Obama's nationally televised speech at 9:00 pm (0200 GMT Wednesday) to gauge "content and tone as a guide for assessing the likelihood of avoiding sequestration slated to go into effect March 1," said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com.

Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at DA Davidson, predicted there would be no market movers in the speech.

"Given the political reality that any major initiative proposed tonight must be enacted this year, a non-election year, we do not expect any groundbreaking, market-moving initiatives from this speech," Dickson said.

Dow component Coca-Cola slid 1.8 percent after reporting a 13 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings from a year ago to $1.9 billion, beating Wall Street forecasts.

US Airways fell 0.9 percent amid speculation on its proposed merger with AMR Corp.'s bankrupt American Airlines to create the biggest US airline. The Wall Street Journal reported the boards of the two companies were set to meet Wednesday, with an announcement possible by Thursday.

United, the top airline, dropped 1.5 percent.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber skidded 3.9 percent after posting adjusted fourth-quarter earnings per share above analyst estimates but also disappointing sales and a lowered 2013 outlook.

Apple, the largest tech stock, was down 1.2 percent on the Nasdaq as CEO Tim Cook spoke at a Goldman Sachs conference.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.98 percent from 1.95 percent Monday while the 30-year climbed to 3.19 percent from 3.15 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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