U.S. stocks move higher as health care and industrials rise

In this Jan. 11, 2019, file photo, trader Joseph Lawler, left, and specialist Mark Otto work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 17. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks are slightly higher Thursday as health care and industrial companies rise. Defense contractors are rising after President Donald Trump said the U.S. will develop a new space-based missile defense system. Banks are slipping as Morgan Stanley drops after its fourth-quarter results fell short of Wall Street's expectations.

Smaller companies are making bigger gains than the rest of the market after they suffered outsize losses in late 2018.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,623 as of 2:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 7 points to 24,214. The Nasdaq composite gained 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,052. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks climbed 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,462.

In the second half of last year the Russell 2000 took even deeper losses than other stock indexes as investors worried that the U.S.