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Stocks - Wall Street Opens Higher Boosted by Strong Apple Gains

Investing.com - Wall Street opened higher on Wednesday as investor sentiment was lifted by upbeat earnings and guidance from Apple ahead of the latest monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve later in the day.

At 9:39 AM ET (13:39 GMT), the Dow Jones was up 41 points, or 0.2%, the S&P 500 added 4 points, also a gain of 0.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite traded up 31 points, or 0.4%.

Apple shares (NASDAQ:AAPL) were up 5% after it expanded its buyback program by $75 billion and increased its dividend. The company’s quarterly results, posted after the bell Tuesday, indicated that higher revenue from accessories, iPads and services were all helping to offset the recent decline in iPhone sales. Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) also rose sharply after a stronger-than-expected quarterly report on Tuesday.

Shares in CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) were higher after a strong first quarter indicated that the integration of Aetna (NYSE:AET) was proceeding well. The company raised its full-year outlook for earnings per share on the back of the news.

Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) saw its shares fall more than 2% after same-store sales at Taco Bell and Pizza Hut fell short of expectations. The report was salvaged by a stronger-than-expected sales at KFC.

Outside of equities, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a currency basket, was little changed for the day at 97.157, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury was fractionally lower at 2.51% ahead of the Fed’s monetary policy statement at 2 PM ET.

No change in the key Fed Funds target rate of 2.25%-2.50% is expected, although economists say the Fed may trim its rate on excess reserves fractionally to nudge the effective Fed Funds rate away from the top of that range.

Investors will also be looking at progress in U.S.-China trade talks. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two countries held "productive" talks in Beijing on Wednesday and will continue discussions in Washington next week.

Earlier Wednesday, a report by payrolls processor ADP (NASDAQ:ADP) showed that U.S. private employers added a far larger-than-forecast 275,000 jobs last month, pointing to renewed strength in the labor market after a soft patch at the start of the year.

Elsewhere on the data front, the Institute of Supply Management is to publish its manufacturing index for April at 10:00 AM ET (14:00 GMT).

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