DEMAND FOR GAS: Stocks edged higher after an Energy Department report showed that gasoline consumption continues to grow despite sharp price increases. It's a sign that motorists have handled higher fuel costs without cutting back.
EARTHQUAKE BILL: Stocks had been weighed down by news that the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan will be the most expensive natural disaster in history. The Japanese government estimated that rebuilding costs could be as high as $300 billion.
THE INDEXES: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67.39 points to 12,086.02. The S&P 500 rose 3.77 to 1,297.54. The Nasdaq rose 14.43 to 2,698.30.