NEW YORK — On a day that brought both good and bad news about the economy, investors chose to see the glass as half-full.

U.S. stocks edged higher Thursday, pushed up by a batch of bright earnings reports and encouraging news about home sales. Those upbeat signs muscled out a disappointing report on unemployment claims, mixed results on European markets and weakness at big-name companies like Aetna, UPS and Dow Chemical.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 113.90 to 13,204.62. The S&P 500 climbed 9.29 to 1,399.98. The Nasdaq composite index rose 20.98 to 3,050.61.

NEW YORK — A German chemical plant that produces a key resin used to make auto parts will be out of commission longer than expected, raising the risks for worldwide auto production,

The plant run by Evonik Industries was badly damaged by an explosion and fire in March. The plant makes at least a quarter of the world’s supply of PA-12, a resin used to make fuel and brake lines. The plant also makes 70 percent of a key ingredient used by other manufacturers to make PA-12.

Automakers and parts suppliers are trying to fast-track substitute plastics. But there may not be a suitable substitute, and that could force auto plants to close later in the year.

BETHESDA, Md. — Lockheed Martin Corp. says that CEO Bob Stevens plans to step down and that its president and chief operating officer, Chris Kubasik, will take on the role at the start of the new year.

Stevens, 60, has served as CEO of the security and aerospace company since 2004. The company said Thursday he will stay on as chairman through January 2014, subject to shareholder election and board approval.

Kubasik, 51, has served with Stevens in the executive office of the chairman since October.

NEW YORK — Wal-Mart shoppers now will be able to pay cash for online purchases.

The world’s largest retailer Thursday said it will allow shoppers to buy items on Walmart.com and pay for them with cash at all of its 3,800 U.S. stores. The discounter says it’s the first major retailer to offer shoppers the opportunity to purchase online without a bank account, or credit, debit or prepaid card.

The company said the initiative was well received when it tested it in a few stores in various parts of the country over the past six weeks.

NEW YORK — Starbucks Corp. perked up its net income by 18 percent in its fiscal second quarter, as more customers visited its cafes around the world, and raised its forecast for the year. The company said Thursday it earned $309.9 million, or 40 cents a share, for the three months ended April 1. Revenue rose to $3.2 billion, up from $2.79 billion a year ago.

WASHINGTON — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage has dipped to near its record low, keeping home-buying and refinancing affordable.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 3.88 percent this week, down from 3.90 percent.

The average on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, popular with homeowners who are refinancing, dipped to 3.12 percent, down from 3.13 percent last week.

Wire reports