* U.S. stocks advance, techs up; Apple results due after
* IBM up on earnings, outlook; S&P 500, Dow industrials at
* Yen steadies after two-day gain against the dollar
* Gold slips as U.S. debt talks make progress
By Ellen Freilich
NEW YORK, Jan 23 U.S. and European stocks rose
on Wednesday, propelled by strong earnings reports and the
extension of the U.S. debt ceiling.
The advance in U.S. stocks put the broad S&P 500 stock index
just 4.7 percent from its all-time closing high of 1,565.15.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend the
government's borrowing authority under the federal debt limit to
Technology shares were a focus, following strong results
from IBM and Google on Tuesday. After the market
closed, Apple Inc, the world's largest technology
company, reported quarterly revenue that slightly missed Wall
Street expectations as sales of its flagship iPhone came in
below target. Its shares fell more than 4 percent.
Shares of IBM, the world's largest technology
services company, propelled the Dow Jones industrial index
higher. IBM rose 4.4 percent after the company outlined a
better-than-forecast outlook for 2013 and posted
better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue.
"Investors are encouraged by corporate earnings results as
we've seen them so far," said Gregory Peterson, director of
investment research at Waltham, Massachusetts-based Ballentine
Partners LLC, with $3.5 billion in assets under management.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average
gained 67.12 points, or 0.49 percent, at 13,779.33. The Standard
& Poor's 500 Index was up 2.25 points, or 0.15 percent,
at 1,494.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.49
points, or 0.33 percent, at 3,153.67.
The MSCI index of global markets was
unchanged, but Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 index rose
0.19 percent, near a 22-month high. Germany's DAX,
which is close to its 2008 high, was up 0.15 percent, and
Britain's FTSE 100 index gained 0.3 percent.
Some of the money shifting into stocks came from Treasuries,
whose low yields lack appeal for investors, said Brian
Gendreau, market strategist at Gainesville, Fla.-based Cetera
Financial Group, with $20 billion in assets under management.
Nevertheless, Treasuries eked out modest gains, with the
benchmark 10-year note up 4/32 in price, pushing its
yield down to 1.83 percent.
"There's still a tsunami of money coming into the Treasury
market from foreign central banks and the Federal Reserve,"
In foreign exchange markets, the yen steadied against the
dollar and euro, ending a gain made in reaction to a Bank of
Japan monetary easing decision that fell short of expectations.
The yen is still down 11 percent from its mid-November
levels, when investors began to price in prospective monetary
accommodation from the Bank of Japan.
The BoJ this week lifted its inflation target to 2 percent
and promised to buy assets. But the starting date for the
purchases, not before 2014, disappointed investors who had
expected the central bank to act with greater urgency.
The dollar was steady at 88.70 yen, off a 2-1/2-year
high of 90.25 yen on Monday.
The euro was also little changed against the dollar at
Investors' improved view of the euro zone was evident in a
comeback for Portugal's bond market. Portugal's first bond sale
since its 2011 rescue drew strong demand, bolstering hopes the
country can make a full market return that would allow it to
call on further European Central Bank support.
A 10-year bond sale by Spain on Tuesday was swamped by
demand from foreign investors.
Gold fell further from this week's one-month high after a
report showing a rise in euro zone consumer confidence capped
investors' interest in the metal.
Spot gold stood at $1,684.86 an ounce. Traders said
progress in talks about the U.S. debt limit reduced gold's
appeal as a safe haven, offsetting the influence of this week's
monetary easing promise from the Bank of Japan.
U.S. crude prices dropped sharply on news a key oil pipeline
had restricted throughput, leading to expectations that supply
would swell at the Midwest delivery point for the contract.
International Brent crude prices held positive, but U.S.
crude plunged after shippers got notice that the newly expanded
400,000 barrel per day Seaway pipeline had cut rates to 175,000
barrels per day.
The line ships crude from the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery
point for the New York Mercantile Exchange's oil contract to the
U.S. Gulf Coast, and the reduction was expected to increase
already ample inventories at the hub.
U.S. crude oil futures settled down $1.45 to $95.23 a
barrel, while Brent crude oil prices traded up 48 cents to
$112.90 a barrel.
Copper was barely changed despite higher output reported by
mining groups such as BHP Billiton. Three-month copper on the
London Metal Exchange was down 0.45 percent at $8,103,15 a tonne