US Stock Indexes Climb Following Strong Bank Earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are rising further Wednesday morning following strong results from major banks including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Technology and consumer-focused companies also traded higher. The British pound rose and Britain's FTSE 100 stock index slipped after Parliament rejected the Brexit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and European leaders.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index gained 12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,622 as of 10:15 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 153 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,219. The Nasdaq composite rose 49 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,073. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks jumped 15 points, or 1 percent, to 1,460.

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The S&P 500 is up 4.6 percent so far in 2019 and is trading at its highest in more than a month.

WING TIP WINNING: Goldman Sachs posted strong results from its advisory business, and that helped the company beat Wall Street's expectations in the fourth quarter.

Investors and traders endured extreme turbulence in the quarter as stock and bond markets went through huge swings. While some volatility tends to give traders an opportunity to make money, several financial firms have said that last year's swings were far too large for that. The S&P 500 fell about 7 percent in October and then tumbled 9 percent in December, its worst month in nearly a decade.

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Goldman jumped 5.5 percent to $189.74 and Bank of America climbed 5.4 percent to $27.98 after its profit surged thanks to last year's steady rise in interest rates, which has allowed it to charge customers more to use credit cards or take out a mortgage. Bank of America's consumer banking business is by far its largest division by revenue and profits.

Investment firm BlackRock rose 4.5 percent to $418.61 and regional bank Comerica picked up 3.5 percent to $76.62 after they reported their quarterly results.

FIRST THINGS FIRST DATA: Fiserv is buying First Data in a $22 billion all-stock deal, creating a giant player in the payments and financial technology sector. Fiserv surged 16.9 percent to $20.50 and First Data lost 7.5 percent to $69.38.

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BREXIT VOTE: Britain's Parliament will debate a vote of no-confidence May's government a day after legislators rejected her Brexit deal by a wide margin. Britain is set to leave the European Union bloc on March 29. Economists warn that an abrupt break with the EU could batter the British economy, which would face new tariffs and other trade barriers after it is no longer part of the EU. Chaotic scenes at borders, ports and airports could also follow.

That's the outcome investors have come to expect, at least for now. That's prevented big moves for British stocks. The FTSE 100 index lost 0.3 percent and the pound rose to $1.2880 from $1.2834.

TAKEOFF: United Continental's profit and revenue both beat analysts' expectations, and its stock jumped 7.7 percent to $87.45. The company has been adding seats faster than its rivals Delta and American, but it has filled most of them, and at higher prices. American added 3.6 percent to $33.24.

FILTERED OUT: Snap slumped again after the social media company said its chief financial officer is leaving after just eight months on the job. Tim Stone is the second Snap CFO to leave in the past year and he's part of a string of top executives who have left in recent months. A redesign of Snapchat's service has also been heavily criticized by users.

Snap went public at $17 a share in March 2017 and traded above $20 less than a year ago, but has fallen sharply since then. On Wednesday it lost 10.6 percent to $5.85.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude edged up 0.1 percent to $52.14 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.4 percent to $60.86 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.74 percent from 2.70 percent.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 added 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index, weighed down by weak machinery orders in December, slipped 0.6 percent. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3 percent.


By AP reporter Marley Jay

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