Updated from 9:58 a.m. EDTStocks were moderately higher heading into midday Wednesday as a homebuilding deal and a lifeline to life insurers helped offset a poor showing from Alcoa ( AA) and jitters about corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was climbing 36 points to 7826, and the S&P 500 was adding 7 points to 822. The Nasdaq was up 24 points to 1585. American Express ( AXP) was leading the Dow with a 4.4% increase, while Microsoft ( MSFT) and Home Depot ( HD) were rising 2% to 3%.
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