Stocks inched higher in the early going, as the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 21 to 9980, crawling ever closer to the 10,000 level.

The Dow got a boost when component

Union Carbide

(UK)

began trading. It was up 2 1/2, or 6%, to 46. Union Carbide this morning said first-quarter operating earnings should come in within a few cents of the highest-published

First Call

analyst estimate, which is 47 cents. The current 10-analyst consensus estimate has Union Carbide earning 34 cents a share in the first quarter.

Elsewhere, the

S&P 500

was up 3 to 1310.

The

Nasdaq Composite Index

was up 5 to 2436. The

Russell 2000

was up 1 to 402.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

was up 10 to 615.

TheStreet.com E-Commerce Index

was up 5 to 115.

The 30-year Treasury bond was up 4/32 to 96 5/32, yielding 5.51%.

Most Up at Open -- NYSE

Teradyne (TER) - Get Report, up 2 9/16 to 54

.

Most Up at Open -- Nasdaq

Go2Net (GNET) , up 14 5/8 to 128

: Paul Allen, co-founder of

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, said yesterday he would invest up to $750 million in Go2Net for a controlling stake in the company.

Most Down at Open -- NYSE

Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report, down 1 3/16 to 90 1/2

.

Most Down at Open -- Nasdaq

Xoom.com (XMCM) , down 2 5/8 to 67

: The company filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

for an offering of 4 million common shares.