Strong first-quarter earnings and a slightly more positive view of the U.S. economy by the central bank offset disappointing durable goods numbers for March to boost equities and trim bonds Wednesday.  

The Federal Open Market Committee raised its inflation and growth forecast, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the jobless rate is expected to continue declining from its current 8.2 percent.

Earnings pleasantly surprised: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares soared after the tech giant reported first-quarter earnings that easily beat expectations; Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) also beat estimates; and Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) lost less than the Street consensus.

Stocks. Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) lifted U.S. stocks rose for a second day, with the Nasdaq closing up 68.03, or 2.3 percent, to 3,029.63. Bank stocks lifted key European equity indexes. Asia-Pacific shares reversed a four-day slide with a modest gain.

Bonds. Treasurys fell, lifting the yield on the 10-year bond to 1.983 percent. An auction of German bonds failed to find buyers for all the securities being offered, a result attributed to the bonds' low yields.

Currencies. The dollar slipped against the euro and the yen. The British pound sterling declined on news the country had fallen into a recession.

Commodities. Live cattle rose 0.8 percent, recovering from Tuesday's selloff, which was sparked by a fourth U.S. case of mad cow. Gasoline futures fell to near seven-week lows. Copper hovered near two-week highs, crude oil rose and gold barely moved. The only losers were coffee, corn and wheat.