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Overnight Markets: Wall Street advances on strong earnings

Overnight Markets: Wall Street advances on strong earnings

US equities shook off a sluggish start to register a gain on Tuesday on strong earnings reports from big corporations.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 63 points, or 0.5%, at 13,712. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained seven points, or 0.4%, to 1,493. The Nasdaq composite average rose eight, or 0.3%, to 3,143.

Dow component DuPont reported a sharp decline in net income on weakness in its electronics, communications and other businesses, but the results still beat analysts' forecasts. Shares closed up 1.8% at $47.82.

Johnson & Johnson fell 0.7%, to $72.69, after the company's 2013 profit forecast fell short of analysts' estimates.

Verizon Communications rose 0.9%, to $42.94, after the country's biggest wireless carrier said it activated a record number of new devices on contract-based plans in the fourth quarter. Verizon's net loss increased on restructuring and pension costs and expenses related to the cleanup from Superstorm Sandy.

Property and casualty insurer Travelers shot up 2.2% after it said core income categories like investments and premiums written rose. Net income fell because of claims filed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Google climbed 3.9% to $730.24 in after-market trade after it reported earnings of $10.65 per share, 13 cents better than analysts’ forecast.

IBM , also reporting results after the close, gained 2.5% to $201 after finishing the day’s session 0.8% higher at $196.08.

Elsewhere, TD Ameritrade Holding jumped 3.1% to $19.03 as the brokerage and financial services company said fourth-quarter sales beat analysts’ expectations.

Shares in Caterpillar closed 0.1% higher at $97.72 after the earthmoving equipment maker said late last week it would take a $580 million charge for accounting misconduct at a Chinese company it acquired last year.

Boeing lost 1.2% to $74.16 as the aircraft manufacturer continued to face the fallout from a series of incidents with its Dreamliner 787 aircraft.

In Asia, most stocks declined on Wednesday in late morning trade as the yen strengthened a day after the Bank of Japan opted to hold off on new monetary stimulus until next year.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.2% to 133 as of 11:01 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average slumped 0.8%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.2% after a report showed the nation’s fourth-quarter inflation rate rose less than forecast. South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1%.

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