US stocks trading higher ahead of Fed minutes

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Stocks moved higher in midday trading on Wednesday, on track to bounce back from a loss the day before. Investors awaited the release of minutes from last month's Federal Reserve policy meeting for hints on the central bank's strategy for interest rates. Tiffany & Co. was among the big gainers.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained eight points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,880 as of 12:32 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 117 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,491. The Nasdaq composite added 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,109.

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 $7.48, or 8.5 percent, to $95.71 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.

"Retail is very fickle right now, but some sectors are doing well, like luxury," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Management.

PAYING OFF: Shares in online payments system provider Qiwi vaulted more than 17 percent after the company raised both its profit and revenue outlook for 2014 after a strong first quarter. The stock added $6 to $40.91.

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 fell 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $56.49.

SECTOR MONITOR: Nine of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by energy and financial stocks. Utilities edged lower.

IN THE DOG HOUSE: PetSmart dropped $4.72, or 7.6 percent, to $57.44 after the pet store chain reported disappointing revenue for the first quarter and slashed its earnings outlook for the current quarter and year.

BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.54 percent from 2.51 percent on Tuesday. The price of crude oil fell 17 cents to $102.40 a barrel.