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U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday, bouncing back from the prior day's steep drop, after earnings from bank powerhouse J.P. Morgan Chase topped expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54 points to 12,318. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 5 points to 1,320, with energy up the most among its 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 17 points to 2,762. The financials are in the lead with JP Morgan up over a percent after beating estimates and initiating a $15 billion buyback plan. iStar Financial is up 4% on an upgrade. The commodities are rebounding after getting hit pretty good yesterday. Cliffs Natural Resources is up 2.5% on an upgrade. Alcoa, however, is not rebounding. Brazilian steelmaker, Gerdau is down 3% after raising more stock. After the first half an hour the financials gave up most of their gains due to conservative guidance on the JP Morgan's conference call. Many of the commodities are also pulling back. The techs are holding their gains. Google looks good on an upgrade. Rival Baidu.com is also higher on an upgrade. Alcatel, Xilinx, and Altera are all higher on upgrades. After the first hour the Dow was only up 20 points while the Nasdaq remained strong up 20 points. Through the morning the averages improved even as the financials remain weak. During the lunch hour the Dow rolled over dragging the Nasdaq with it. In the afternoon following the beige book better than expected economic data boosted the major averages back into the green. The financials and a number of commodities remain in the red. In the last hour the rally in the Dow fizzled while the Nasdaq remained in the green. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 7 points to 12,270. Caterpillar was the biggest gainer rising 1%. J.P. Morgan Chase shares lost 0.8% as enthusiasm for the bank's strong profit growth waned after their executives spoke more conservatively on the conference call. The S&P 500 inched up 25 cents to 1,314. The Nasdaq Composite gained 16 points to 2,761. Stocks spent much of the day tracking crude-oil futures, which ended higher above $107 a barrel.
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