Stocks end day mostly up on upbeat earnings

The stock market closed mostly higher Thursday, helped by positive earnings out of several large U.S. companies including Apple and construction equipment maker Caterpillar.

The markets gains were modest, however. Some earnings reports, such as 3M and Facebook, also failed to impress.

It was the seventh time in the last eight days the S&P 500 has closed higher. The index rose 3.22 to 1,878.61. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 16,501.65, unchanged. The Nasdaq rose 21.37 to 4,148.34.

Apple was among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 after reporting a profit that beat forecasts. Dow component Caterpillar rose 2 percent after earnings climbed 5 percent.

Amazon offers grocery service to its members

Amazon is taking aim at grocery stores and discounters like Wal-Mart with a grocery service that lets its Prime loyalty club members fill up to a 45-pound box with groceries and get it shipped for a flat rate of $5.99.

The mega online retailer says the service, called Prime Pantry, will offer Prime users an expanded selection of items that they usually pick up in grocery stores, in addition to larger in-bulk groceries more commonly ordered online. Items are shipped within one to four business days.

Ladies Home Journal is going newsstand-only

Meredith Corp. says it is ending subscription service of "Ladies' Home Journal" due to declining advertiser interest.

The magazine was launched in 1883 and is one of the nation's oldest women's magazines. It remains popular with a current circulation of 3.2 million, according to Meredith. But with a median reader age of 57, the magazine faces tough competition for advertisers amid a sea of other women's magazines that appeal to broader demographics.

Meredith spokesman Art Slusark said the magazine's July edition will be its final subscription issue. After that, it will move to a quarterly newsstand format.

Verizon's 1Q net profit surges on Vodafone

Verizon's $130 billion deal to take over all of Verizon Wireless is helping lift its profit.

The largest U.S. cellphone carrier on Thursday posted a 23 percent profit increase in its first quarter, during which it completed the acquisition of the 45 percent stake in its wireless division from British cellphone carrier Vodafone Group PLC.

UPS blaming weather for decline in 1Q profit

First-quarter revenue at UPS slumped 12 percent as winter storms increased costs for the shipping giant and cut into its revenue. The company said Thursday that the rough start to the year means that full-year earnings will come in at the low end of its earlier forecasts.

Wal-Mart cut ex-CEO's pay 73 percent in 2013

The pay of Wal-Mart Stores' outgoing CEO fell 73 percent in 2013 because he received a lower performance-based bonus and he didn't get stock awards that are given in anticipation of future performance.

The world's largest retailer gave Mike Duke, 64, a compensation package worth about $5.6 million, down from $20.7 million in the prior year, according to an Associated Press analysis of a filing Wednesday. Duke successor Doug McMillon received compensation valued at $25.6 million for 2013.

Average mortgage rate climbs to 4.33 percent

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week as the spring homebuying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan rose to 4.33 percent from 4.27 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage increased to 3.39 percent from 3.33 percent.

Wire reports