Earnings Drive Gains in Early Trade

(AP) -- Stocks moved higher in early trading Wednesday after several big U.S. companies reported strong quarterly results. Technology companies accounted for much of the market's gain, outweighing losses in health care and other sectors. Oil prices headed lower. The market was coming off a two-day losing streak and its biggest drop since August.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,831 as of 10:11 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 185 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,262. The Nasdaq added 34 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,436. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,589.

THE FED SPEAKS: Investors were awaiting the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement, which was due out Wednesday afternoon. The statement follows a two-day meeting of the central bank's policymakers, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who is stepping down when her term expires at the end of this week. The Fed has signaled it could raise its benchmark interest rate three times this year, but analysts don't expect the first hike to be announced before the Fed's March meeting.

TECH SURGE: Technology companies posted solid gains, recouping some of their losses from a day earlier. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices added 72 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $13.59, while Electronic Arts rose $11.58, or 9.8 percent, to $130.28.

HIGH FLYER: Boeing climbed 5.8 percent after the aerospace giant's latest quarterly earnings topped Wall Street's expectations. The stock, which has been the biggest gainer in the Dow over the past year, added $19.75 to $357.46.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 14 cents to $64.36 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 16 cents to $68.36 in London.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.71 percent from 2.72 percent late Tuesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.94 yen from 108.78 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.2454 from $1.2404.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.9 percent. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3 percent.

(BE)