Stocks Climb as Corporate Profits Rise

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks markets around the world ticked higher Wednesday as businesses continued to report stronger-than-expected earnings. Treasury yields took a modest step backward as the Federal Reserve prepares to wrap up a two-day meeting on interest rates, which most investors expect to be uneventful.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,481, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. It closed at a record Tuesday, along with several other indexes of U.S. stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 115 points, or 0.5 percent, to 21,728, and the Nasdaq composite rose 12, or 0.3 percent, to 6,431.

LIFTOFF: Boeing's stock was on pace for its best day in more than seven years after it reported stronger second-quarter results than analysts expected. It rose $16.57, or 7.8 percent, to $229.03.

PICKUP: AT&T jumped $1.63, or 4.5 percent, to $37.85 after reporting stronger second-quarter profit than Wall Street had forecast.

GOING BIG: Advanced Micro Devices soared to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it raised its forecast for full-year revenue growth and reported stronger-than-expected results for the second quarter. It jumped $1.39, or 9.9 percent, to $15.50.

FED IN FOCUS: The Federal Reserve is wrapping up a policy meeting on interest rates, and most investors expect it to hold them steady after raising rates three times since December. Perhaps more interesting will be if the central bank says anything about is plans to trim its vast store of investments. The Fed has amassed a $4.5 trillion balance sheet after hoovering up bonds following the financial crisis in hopes of keeping interest rates low and helping the economy.

Some investors worry that markets are due to shake out of their unusually calm pattern as the Fed further raises rates and trims its balance sheet.

YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.32 percent from 2.33 percent late Tuesday. The two-year yield dipped to 1.38 percent from 1.39 percent, and the 30-year yield held steady at 2.92 percent.

MARKETS ABROAD: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.5 percent, South Korea's Kospi index slipped 0.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.3 percent

France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent.

COMMODITIES: The price of oil continued its recent ascent, and benchmark U.S. crude topped $48 per barrel for the first time in seven weeks. It climbed 26 cents to $48.15 per barrel and was on pace for its third straight gain. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 21 cents to $50.57 per barrel.

Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet, gold dropped $4.60 to $1,247.50 per ounce and copper rose 2 cents to $2.87 per pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged down to 111.88 Japanese yen from 111.89 yen late Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.1633 from $1.1652, and the British pound dipped to $1.3036 from $1.3037.

(BE)