US stocks open higher ahead of Fed minutes

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

U.S. stocks notched gains in early trading Wednesday as investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve's policy meeting in April. Tiffany & Co. was among the big risers after the upscale jewelry chain reported strong quarterly results.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,883 in the first 30 minutes of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 103 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,478. The Nasdaq composite added 24 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,120.

FED WATCH: The Federal Reserve was set to release the minutes of last month's meeting of its policymaking committee. Following the April 29-30 meeting, the central bank said it would further cut its bond purchases, noting that the U.S. job market needed less help. Traders will be watching for clues about how quickly the central bank plans to reduce its economic stimulus.

JEWEL IN THE CROWN: Tiffany jumped $8.35, or 9.5 percent, to $96.58 after the company said that its earnings spiked 50 percent in the first quarter as worldwide sales jumped by double digits and the company raised its prices. The results beat analysts' expectations and the jeweler raised its earnings forecast for the year.

DATA BREACH EFFECT: Target reported a 16 percent drop in first-quarter earnings, reflecting the lingering effects of a massive customer data breach and troubled expansion plans in Canada. Still, the retailer said it saw significant improvement in a key revenue metric from what it experienced shortly after the data breach. Its shares rose 70 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $57.31 in early trading.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.55 percent from 2.51 percent on Tuesday. The price of oil rose $1.01, or 1 percent, to $103.37 a barrel.