Stocks Begin Higher ahead of Housing Data

U.S. stocks started modestly ahead on Wednesday, with earnings from Boeing Co. and Facebook Inc. helping lift sentiment ahead of a report on home sales. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately climbed 18.74 points, or 0.14%, to 13,121.27. The S&P 500 index gained 2.24 points, or 0.16%, to 1,415.35. The Nasdaq Composite added 10.17 points, or 0.34%, to 3,000.63.

Fed officials, huddling in Washington for a second day Wednesday, are likely to be discussing how to tweak policy later in the year. Those changes could include a new way of communicating their low rate policy, and what they will do when their Operation Twist ends in December.

Boeing (BA) reported quarterly earnings that exceeded analysts’ predictions and revenue that matched forecasts, prompting the company to raise its forecast for the full year. Net income excluding items fell to $1.03 billion, or $1.35 per share, down from $1.10 billion, or $1.46 per share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 13 percent to $20.01 billion from $17.73 billion a year ago.

Communications company AT&T (T) reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations on Wednesday on strong revenue from its wireless operations. The company reported record cash from operations of $11.5 billion and free cash flow of $6.5 billion. Wireless revenues rose 6.6 percent while wireless service revenues gained 4.5 percent.

Barnes & Noble Inc.(BKS) said customers at 63 stores in nine states may have had their credit-card information stolen. In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the nation’s largest bookstore chain said that in September it detected a problem with a PIN pad device used by customers to swipe their credit cards in one of its stores.

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