NEW YORK (AP) - Stocks are edging higher, after a trade group reported that the economy's service sector grew in September.
The Institute for Supply Management says its service sector index dipped to 53 from 53.3 in August. But any reading above 50 indicates expansion for the sector, which covers a range of businesses from restaurants and hotels to financial services firms and retailers.
Private company hiring also increased, according to payroll processor ADP.
Meanwhile, a new survey shows a jump in planned layoffs last month. The report from Challenger, Gray and Christmas finds employers plan to cut nearly 116,000 jobs. That's an increase of 126 percent over the 51,000 in August.
Stocks had started the day lower before moving higher at mid-morning.
European indexes rose broadly following reports that European officials are exploring a joint effort to support the region's struggling banks.