US stocks open higher; Yahoo soars in early trade

ALEX VEIGA AP Business Writer Published:

Major stock indexes were notching small gains in morning trading Wednesday as investors cheered solid earnings from Yahoo and looked ahead to quarterly report cards from other big tech companies including Google and IBM. The market also got a boost from some encouraging news about China's economy and U.S. factory production.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose six points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,849 as of 11:13 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 64 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,327. The Nasdaq added 10 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,044. All three indexes are up for the week but are still down for the month after several days of choppy trading.

YAHOO FOR ASIA: Yahoo jumped $1.83, or 5.3 percent, to $36.03 in early trading. The Internet pioneer reported late Tuesday that it is making most of its money from its stakes in two Asian Internet companies, China's Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. That overshadowed a 20 percent drop in overall first-quarter earnings.

CHINESE GROWTH: The world's second-largest economy grew 7.4 percent from a year earlier in the January-March quarter, down from 7.7 percent in the previous quarter, China's government reported. The growth rate appeared strong enough to satisfy Chinese leaders who are trying to put the country on a more sustainable path without politically dangerous job losses.

FACTORIES HUMMING: The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that factory production rose 0.5 percent in March after a revised 1.4 percent surge in February. The gains over the past two months point to a rebound after a winter slowdown in January and December stalled growth across the economy, and are a sign of greater demand by businesses and consumers.

SECTOR WATCH: All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index rose, led by companies that make basic materials. Aluminum maker Alcoa rose 24 cents, or 2 percent, to $13.29 and Eastman Chemical rose $1.52, or 2 percent, to $87.78.

LITIGATION LETDOWN: Bank of America slumped after reporting a loss in the first quarter. The bank booked $6 billion in costs related to a previously disclosed legal settlement over its home loan lending practices. BofA fell 46 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $15.93.

CHILL ON THE TRACKS: Severe winter weather contributed to a 14 percent drop in CSX's first-quarter earnings, even as the railroad company's freight volume grew modestly. CSX executives expect modest profit growth for the year, but they also said the impact of the harsh winter will linger into the current quarter. CSX fell 75 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $27.54.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 1.2 percent while France's CAC-40 rose 1.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.6 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.2 percent. The Nikkei 225 index jumped 3 percent.

TREASURYS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.64 percent from 2.63 percent late Tuesday.