NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock indices were clinging onto their hard-fought gains in early afternoon trading on Wednesday after investors digested negative geopolitical and economic news and speculation of an earlier-than-expected interest rate hike.
Half of the key sectors were rising, with financials, energy and basic materials leading the pack, as Bank of America (BAC) declared a dividend hike.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading up 0.24% to 16,468.20. The S&P 500 was rising 0.15% to 1,923.02. The Nasdaq was ticking up 0.34% to 4,367.59. U.S. stocks on Tuesday finished at session lows after being pressured by a ramp-up of tensions in Ukraine.
A handful of top corporate headlines were crossing the wires Wednesday. Bank of America was charging 1.5% higher to $15.23 after the company increased its quarterly common stock dividend to 5 cents a share from 1 cent. Time Warner (TWX) shares were tumbling 12.84% to $74.25 Wednesday as Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOXA) withdrew its $80 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer. Fox on the other hand was popping 5.14% to $32.91.
Factory orders have been suffering in Europe's largest economy, a situation that Berlin's Economics Ministry blames on geopolitical developments and risks. These factors have led to a "certain holding back" on orders.
Elsewhere, the eurozone's third-largest economy, Italy, slumped back into a recession during the second quarter. GDP was down 0.2% from the first quarter.
News that Russia has amassed 20,000 combat-ready troops -- reportedly special forces as well as troops with armor, artillery and air defense capabilities -- on its eastern border with Ukraine raised concerns about imminent military intervention Wednesday.