Stocks rise in midday trading on Wall Street

Stocks gain in midday trading on Wall Street; Bank of America climbs after profit jumps

Associated Press
S&P 500 finishes above all-time closing high
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FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, file photo, Trader Richard Newman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Stock markets rose Wednesday Jan. 15, 2014 as an upbeat World Bank assessment of the global economic outlook underpinned buying spurred by stronger U.S. retail sales. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Standard and Poor's 500 index topped its closing high from last year Wednesday as investors bid up stocks of financial and technology companies. Bank stocks rose sharply after Bank of America reported that its profit surged to $3.44 billion in the fourth quarter. Apple was up 2 percent.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average is up 125 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,499 as of 12:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,849, about a point higher than its closing high from last year. The Nasdaq composite rose 30 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,213.

BANK EARNINGS: Bank of America climbed 2.7 percent after reporting that loans on its balance sheet continue to improve. The bank's provision for credit losses fell to $336 million, from $2.2 billion in the same period a year earlier. Even its mortgage division, which took huge losses after the housing bubble popped, improved.

TECH SURGE: Technology stocks were among the early gainers. Apple and Microsoft both rose 2 percent.

FASTENAL DROP: The industrial supply company dropped the most in the S&P 500, down 5.5 percent, after reporting missing fourth quarter earnings by a penny. The stock slumped $2.65 to $45.56.

3-D PRINTER TUMBLE: Shares of 3-D printer company ExOne fell $5.91, or 9.5 percent, to $56.35 after cutting its revenue forecast for the year. The North Huntington, Pa., company cited deferred orders from international customers.

WHOLESALE PRICES UP: U.S. wholesale prices increased in December, pushed up by rising price for gasoline prices and other energy costs. Overall inflation remained mild. The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures costs before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month.

TREASURIES AND COMMODITIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.90 percent from 2.87 percent on Tuesday. The price of oil climbed $1.84, or 2 percent, to $94.43 a barrel. Gold fell $5.40, or 0.4 percent, to $1,240 an ounce.

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