Stocks edge higher, reversing two days of losses; Alcoa rises on better earnings


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NEW YORK — Stocks are closing higher after corporate earnings got off to an encouraging start.

Stocks held onto their gains through the afternoon Wednesday after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest policy meeting in June.

Alcoa rose 6 percent after reporting earnings that were better than investors were expecting.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,985.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,972. The Nasdaq composite rose 27 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,419.

As companies begin turning in second-quarter results this week, investors will be looking for signs that the strengthening U.S. economy has translated into higher profits.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.55 percent.

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