US equity benchmarks were modestly higher on Wednesday morning after an early dip into negative territory amid a raft of earnings reports and strong gains in the energy sector.
In economic news, the Bank of Canada left its interest rate unchanged at 1.25% and data released by the Energy Information Administration showed that US stockpiles of crude oil fell by 1.1 million barrels to 427.6 million barrels last week.
Some seven of the 11 key sectors making up the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were higher at the time of writing, led by energy, materials and industrials, up by 1.5%, 1.0% and 1.0%, respectively.
In equities, Textron ( TXT ) was leading the gainers on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, up by 6.7% after the multi-industry company reported a jump in its first quarter revenue which also beat analysts' estimates. Railroad company CSX ( CSX ) was up by 5.7% after the company posted better-than-expected results for its top and bottom lines in the first quarter despite a decline in the volume of freight that it transports.
Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX ) was 4.3% higher and Tractor Supply ( TSCO ) was up by 4.4%. Technology retailer Best Buy ( BBY ) was up by 3.3% after the company said that it had partnered with e-commerce company Amazon.com (AMZN) to offer Fire TV Edition smart televisions at Best Buy stores.
Decliners on the Standard & Poor's Index were led by International Business Machines (IBM), 6.9% lower, after the company posted better-than-expected results for its first quarter while maintaining its guidance for full-year adjusted earnings per share which was slightly below analysts' average estimate in after-hours trade on Tuesday.
Lam Research (LRCX), a manufacturer of microchips, was down by 5.6% and technology company Juniper Networks (JNPR) was 5.1% lower after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to sell from neutral. Applied Materials (AMAT), a manufacturer of semiconductors, solar products and displays, was down by 5.1% and KLA-Tencor (KLAC), a manufacturer of inspection, metrology and data analysis systems, was 2.9% lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.04% lower, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up by 0.27% and the Nasdaq was 0.21% higher at the time of writing.