New York - US stocks opened higher on Wednesday after declining for the past three sessions, with investors' focus on the Federal Reserve's policy statement and news conference by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day.
The Fed looks set to sustain its $85 billion monthly bond-buying stimulus despite improving US economic data as a new flare-up in the euro zone crisis from Cyprus's troubles reminds officials of a risky global environment.
The Fed will release the Federal Open Market Committee statement and the Summary of Economic Projections at 2:00 p.m. EDT (20:00 SA time). Bernanke's news conference is due around 2:30 p.m.
“With the market up 10 percent for the year so far, if the Fed changes (its stance) ever so slightly, the market could have a knee-jerk reaction here,” said Steve Goldman, principal at Goldman Management in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“But I don't think that will be the case. There are still concerns in the euro zone and the domestic economy is decent but not as strong as we would want it to be.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 77.09 points, or 0.53 percent, at 14,532.91.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 8.71 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,557.05.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.82 points, or 0.61 percent, at 3,248.91.
The S&P 500 has ended lower for the past three sessions as investors booked profits from a recent rally that had taken the Dow to a 10-day winning streak last week.
Concerns about Cyprus and possible contagion to other parts of Europe curbed risk appetite.
Cypriot leaders held crisis talks on Wednesday to avert financial meltdown after the country's parliament rejected the terms of a European Union bailout, throwing efforts to rescue the latest casualty of the euro zone debt crisis into disarray.
FedEx Corp reported a 31 percent drop in quarterly profit due to restructuring costs and weakness in its air freight express business. The stock was off 4.3 percent to $101.93.
JPMorgan Chase & Co has reached a $546 million settlement with the trustee liquidating the failed broker-dealer unit of MF Global Holdings, a court filing showed
Roche Holding and a buyout group comprising KKR & Co LP and Hellman & Friedman LLC have joined the bidding for Life Technologies Corp, a genetic testing company coveted for its advanced diagnostics and steady cash flow, according to people familiar with the matter.
General Mills, the US maker of Yoplait yogurt, Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups, reported a higher quarterly profit on Wednesday, helped by the recent acquisitions of Yoki Alimentos in Brazil and Yoplait Canada.
The stock was up 1.4 percent at $47.09. - Reuters