Stocks advanced on Wednesday as stronger-than-expected earnings from companies including Deere & Co
Shares of Deere rose 5 percent to $56.45 after the farm equipment maker reported quarterly earnings that topped expectations and raised its fiscal 2010 outlook for machinery sales growth.
The results follow the upbeat trend in fourth-quarter U.S. corporate results, with more than 70 percent of the Standard & Poor's 500 companies beating analyst earnings estimates so far, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Investors are buying on the good news of corporate earnings, which have come in very strong, and the vast majority above Wall Street expectations, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Asset Management in Bedford Hills, New York.
Also helping sentiment, Federal Reserve data showed U.S. industrial output rose more than expected in January, with gains recorded across all major categories.
On the down side were energy shares, which limited market gains as the U.S. dollar rose against the euro, reversing Tuesday's move. Strength in the U.S. currency tends to pressure dollar-denominated commodities.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 30.15 points, or 0.29 percent, at 10,298.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was up 2.88 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,097.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was up 4.72 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,218.91.
If the S&P 500 ends higher, it would be the first time the index has seen two consecutive up days since Feb 1-2. Earlier this year, the index was up as much as 70 percent from its early March lows, a gain tied largely to stronger earnings and economic data.
Also keeping gains in check on Wednesday were lingering concerns about the future for debt-burdened Greece, which have hit the euro in recent weeks.
Nothing has changed in Greece or any of the other (affected) countries, said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management in New York.
Economic data helped boost shares of industrial companies. Diversified manufacturer United Technologies
Investors also await minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which could include more details on the rate-setting committee's expectations for ending its ultra-loose monetary policy.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil futures were up 17 cents at $77.18, after trading lower. Shares of Chevron
On the Nasdaq, shares of Whole Foods Market Inc
(Editing by Kenneth Barry)