Technology companies lead US stocks higher in early trading

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Stocks traded higher on Wednesday following the release of stronger-than-expected quarterly results from some of the biggest USA companies. The S&P 500, however, has already added 4 percent since January 1.

Also Wednesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.9 percent, closing at 2,802.56.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 26,000 points for the first time on Wednesday.

The rally also delivered record highs for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite, wiping out the market's modest losses from a day earlier. The Nasdaq composite gained 74 points, or 1%, to 7,298.

In small-caps, the Russell 2000 Index closed at 1,586.36 for a gain of 13.39 points or 0.85%. The drop was a reversal from robust gains for October and November.

Stocks are moving higher on Wall Street as the market makes up some of the ground it lost a day earlier.

Republicans were trying to pass a funding bill that would prevent the shutdown of federal agencies, but Democrats threatened to vote against the bill unless the White House and GOP lawmakers include protections for younger immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children.

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Laszlo Birinyi, longtime strategist and founder of Birinyi Associates, said earlier Tuesday that he sees clear signs the market is going into a period of consolidation, and he is now not setting a target for the S&P 500, after it crossed his last one at 2,760. Boeing rose $18.85, or 4.7 percent, to $351.01.

Alcoa tumbled 7.5 percent after the aluminum producer's earnings missed analysts' estimates.

Technology stocks were again some of the biggest winners. This trend is expected to continue in the coming weeks as Wall Street's earnings recovery continues.

IBM rose 3.0 percent after Barclays analysts double upgraded the stock to "overweight" and hiked its price target by Dollars 59 to $192. It was the Dow's biggest intraday swing since December 1.

The Dow is up 1,396.43 points, or 5.7 percent.

Gold rose $2.10 to $1,339.20 an ounce.

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