U.S. stocks end higher on Alcoa earnings, Dow gains 0.46%

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Investing.com - U.S. stock prices finished higher on Wednesday after investors applauded Alcoa's fourth-quarter results marked by gains in revenues.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.46%, the S&P 500 index was up 0.27%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.45%.

After the closing bell on Tuesday, Alcoa reported fourth-quarter earnings per share of USD0.06, in line with expectations

The company reported revenues of USD5.90 billion during the final quarter of 2012, beating out market calls for a top-line figure of USD5.60 billion, which sent stocks rising on Wednesday.

More companies will begin unveiling fourth-quarter earnings this week, though investors went long on equities albeit in cautious trading on Wednesday.

Many investors, however, remained camped out in the safe-haven greenback, bracing for heated congressional debates over terms to raise the U.S. government's debt ceiling.

The U.S. government will hit its USD16.4 trillion borrowing limit likely by the end of February, and Congress must lift the spending ceiling in order to prevent defaults on government obligations.

When the government last hit its debt ceiling in 2011, lawmakers waited until the final hour to lift it, roiling markets in the process and fueling strong safe-haven demand for the greenback shortly afterwards.

Fears of a repeat performance this February softened demand for risk-on assets on Wednesday.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Boeing, up 3.53%, Hewlett-Packard, up 3.05%, and UnitedHealth Group, up 1.87%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Bank of America, down 4.59%, Exxon Mobile, down 0.34%, and AT&T, down 0.29%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.56%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.31%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished up 0.32%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.74%.

Investors will pay close attention to earnings due for release later this week as well as weekly initial jobless claims due for release by the government on Thursday.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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