Stocks Started Higher after Alcoa Results

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Wednesday after Alcoa got the earnings season under way with better-than-expected revenue and an encouraging outlook for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average lately gained 58.11 points, or 0.44 percent, to 13,386.96. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 3.87 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,461.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 7.97 points, or 0.26 percent, to 3,099.78.

Applications for U.S. home mortgages rebounded last week after three straight weeks of declines, even as interest rates jumped. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, surged 11.7 percent in the week ended Jan 4.

Apple Inc. is working on a lower-end iPhone, according to people briefed on the matter, a big shift in corporate strategy as its supremacy in smartphones has slipped. The cheaper phone could resemble the standard iPhone, with a different, less-expensive body.

Dish Network put in a bid for Clearwire Corp on Tuesday that trumped Sprint Nextel’s $2.2 billion offer, setting the stage for a takeover battle for the wireless service provider that owns crucial mobile spectrum.

BlackBerry maker stays away from big Las Vegas conference in hopes of focusing its efforts on its own launch event later this month.

The mechanical problems continued Wednesday for Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, an aircraft seen as a key part of the company’s future.

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