By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer
Stocks edged mostly higher on Wall Street in afternoon trading Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of another all-time high. The benchmark index was up 0.1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.1%. All three indexes started the day slightly in the green. Retailers and companies reliant on consumer spending were also among the better performers coming off the Christmas holiday shopping season. With three trading days left in the year, the S&P 500 is headed for a gain of more than 27% for 2021, nearly as big as its gain in 2019.