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Overnight Markets: Optimism about corporate earnings lifts US stocks

Overnight Markets: Optimism about corporate earnings lifts US stocks

US stocks gained on Wednesday, snapping a two- day decline, amid investors’ optimism about fourth-quarter corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 62 points, or 0.46%, to 13,391. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose four points, or 0.27%, to 1,461. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 14 points, or 0.45%, to 3,106.

Shares of Alcoa Inc fell 0.5% after early gains, following the company's earnings release after the bell on Tuesday. The company said it expects global demand for aluminum to grow this year.

Both earnings and revenues in the fourth quarter are expected to have grown by 1.9% as against a meager 0.1% rise in the previous quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Herbalife Ltd jumped 4.2% after hedge fund manager Dan Loeb took a large stake in the nutritional supplements seller. Prominent short-seller Bill Ackman had previously accused the company of being a "pyramid scheme".

Facebook Inc surged 5.3%, trading above $30 for the first time since July 2012. Seagate Technology jumped 6.6% as revenue topped an earlier forecast.

Clearwire Corp climbed 7.2% after Dish Network bid $2.28 billion for the company, beating out a previous Sprint offer and setting the stage for a takeover battle for the wireless service provider.

Apollo Group’s shares were off 7.8%  after heavier early losses, a day after it reported lower student sign-ups for the third straight quarter and cut its operating profit outlook for 2013.

In the financial sector, Bank of America Corp. slid 4.6% after Credit Suisse Group AG cut its recommendation for the lender.

In Asia, shares surged on Thursday as China’s exports data exceeded estimates and Japanese carmakers rallied on a weaker yen.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rallied 0.9% to 132 as of 12:21 p.m. Tokyo time. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average increased 0.9%, advancing for a second day. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.6%, China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index increased 1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3%.

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