Stocks move higher for second straight day


NEW YORK — he Standard and Poor’s 500 index rose above its all-time closing high today as investors bid up stocks of financial and technology companies. Bank stocks rose sharply after Bank of America reported that its profit surged to $3.44 billion in the fourth quarter. Apple was up 2 percent.

The S&P 500 gained 10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,849, shortly after 1 p.m. Eastern time. That was a point above its closing high on Dec. 31, 2013. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 121 points, or 0.7 percent, to 16,494. The Nasdaq composite rose 28 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,211.

Bank of America climbed 2.6 percent after it reported a surge in earnings. The loans on its balance sheet continue to improve, and the bank’s provision for credit losses fell to $336 million, from $2.2 billion in the same period a year earlier. Even its mortgage division, which took huge losses after the housing bubble popped, improved.

Apple and Microsoft both rose more than 2 percent.

The industrial supply company dropped the most in the S&P 500, down 5.3 percent, after reporting that it missed fourth-quarter earnings by a penny. The stock slumped $2.57 to $45.64.

Shares of 3-D printer company ExOne fell $5.41, or 8.7 percent, to $56.85 after cutting its revenue forecast for the year. The North Huntington, Pa., company cited deferred orders from international customers.

After years of squeezing more and more profits out of every dollar of revenue, companies will have to lift that top line to hit their earnings targets for this year, said Joseph S. Tanious, global market strategist at JPMorgan. But he’s optimistic. “You will see strong revenue growth,” he said. He said a 4 percent to 6 percent increase in S&P 500 earnings per share shouldn’t be “too difficult.”

U.S. wholesale prices increased in December, as gasoline prices rose along with other energy costs. Overall inflation remained mild. The Labor Department said the producer price index, which measures costs before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.90 percent from 2.87 percent on Tuesday. The price of oil climbed $1.95, or 2 percent, to $94.53 a barrel. Gold fell $6.50, or 0.5 percent, to $1,238 an ounce.