* Dow, S&P 500 inch up to fresh records
* Genworth and Qualcomm slump following results
* Whole Foods rallies in bright spot for market
* Indexes: Dow up 0.31 percent, S&P up 0.23 percent, Nasdaq up 0.14 percent (Updates prices)
By Yasmeen Abutaleb
NEW YORK, Nov 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up in a volatile session on Thursday, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting fresh records on an indication that the European Central Bank would take more policy action if needed to boost a struggling euro zone economy.
Major indexes fluctuated between positive and negative territory throughout the day. Cyclical shares, ones tied to the pace of economic growth, were among the strongest. Weak results from Qualcomm pressured chipmakers.
ECB President Mario Draghi indicated support for additional measures to bolster the euro zone economy if necessary and said the ECB governing council was unanimous in its commitment to using unconventional measures.
The defensive telecom and utilities sectors were the weakest on the day, off 1.1 and 1.5 percent respectively. Industrial shares rose 1 percent as the strongest sector of the day.
Draghi “brought more clarity but there’s still more to come out, and it isn’t healthy to focus on hopes for stimulus instead of fundamentals,” said Michael O‘Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Qualcomm Inc pressured the tech sector, slumping 11.3 percent to $68.51 a day after it said an antitrust investigation and problems collecting royalties could harm its business in China next year. Orbitz Worldwide fell 8.3 percent to $7.78 following its results.
Genworth Financial plummeted 37 percent to $8.86 in heavy trading, its biggest one-day drop since November 2008 during the financial crisis. Tom McInerney, Genworth’s chief executive, said he was “very disappointed” by the results of its U.S. life insurance division.
Whole Foods Market Inc jumped 11.2 percent to $44.47 after its results beat expectations on Wednesday, boosted by gains in market share and new product launches. The stock was on track for its biggest one-day advance since May 2013.
At 2:23 p.m. the Dow Jones industrial average rose 54.2 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,538.73, the S&P 500 gained 4.68 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,028.25 and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.26 points, or 0.14 percent, to 4,626.98.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,588 to 1,411, for a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,358 issues rose and 1,257 fell for a 1.08-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 68 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 102 new highs and 52 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum, James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman)