Updated from 9:10 a.m. EDT
Stocks on Wall Street were moderately higher early Wednesday as a reassuring earnings statement by
helped momentarily quell investors' skittishness about the financial sector.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was adding 42 points to 11,005, while the
was up 7 points to 1222. The
was climbing 12 points to 2228.
On Tuesday, the major indices ended to the downside as
Chairman Ben Bernanke's bearish statements before Congress clashed with a substantial decline in crude oil prices.
After the close, technology bellwether
reported a second-quarter profit of $1.6 billion, or 28 cents a share, up from 22 cents a share in the year-ago quarter and ahead of analysts' expectations. Even so, the results failed to inspire much interest in the overall market.
Railroad service provider
also reported following the close, delivering in-line pro forma earnings of $365 million, or 89 cents a share, up from 71 cents a share a year ago.
The arrival of the new day brought with it more earnings. Wells Fargo delivered second-quarter earnings that were lower than the year-ago results but ahead of analyst expectations. The bank also announced it would raise its dividend 10%. Shares were rising in premarket trading.
posted a profit, excluding one-time charges, of 35 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate culled by Thomson Financial. American Airlines operator
also bettered estimates.
announced that its profit rose 34% year over year to $1.32 billion, or 85 cents a share, beating expectations of 79 cents a share.
Among materials companies, iron-ore provider
said it will buy coal miner
Alpha Natural Resources
for $10 billion in cash and stock.
Traders have a hefty batch of economic data to contend with, as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index rose 5% year over year, its biggest increase since May of 1991. Sequentially, the CPI rose 1.1% for June, up from 0.6% in May and above analysts' predictions of 0.7%. The core CPI figure increased 0.3% for June, up from a 0.2% increase for May.
The Fed reported a 0.5% increase in industrial production for June vs. a 0.2% decline in May. For the second quarter, production declined 3.1% sequentially. June capacity utilization increased to 79.9%, a reading that was ahead of economists' predictions of 79.4%.
Later, investors will also get a look at the minutes from the June 25 Fed meeting and weekly crude inventory levels.
In commodities, crude oil was down 69 cents at $138.05 after falling more than $6 in Tuesday's session, the largest daily decline since 1991. Gold was adding $1.40 cents to $980.10.
As for Treasuries, the 10-year note was losing 18/32 in price, yielding 3.89%. The 30-year was dropping 1-10/32 to yield 4.54%. The dollar was gaining against the euro and the pound, but slipping against the yen.
World markets were mixed. London's FTSE was lower, while Frankfurt's DAX, Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng were edging higher.