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Stocks rise as technology shares rally amid debt-limit vote

Investor optimism over the approval of a plan in the House of Representatives to increase the debt ceiling helped move stock prices higher Wednesday. However, the markets could move lower Thursday because of a disappointing report from Apple.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 67.12 points to 13,779.33, its 10th increase in the past 11 sessions. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10.49 points to 3,153.67 and the S&P 500 Stock Index added 2.25 points to 1,494.81.

After the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) reported earnings for the past quarter that were little changed from the previous period. However, its forecast for the current quarter was below expectations and the shares have dropped more than 10 percent in after hours trading and could weigh on the markets Thursday.

Oil prices were lower, down $1.45 to $95.23 a barrel and gold dipped $6.50 to $1,686.70 an ounce.

Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) jumped more than 4.4 percent after reporting earnings that topped estimates.

“Right now it’s all earnings related and the fact that maybe we can put the debt ceiling to rest for maybe a couple more months,” Frank Ingarra, who helps manage $1.4 billion at Greenwich, Conn.-based NorthCoast Asset Management LLC, said in a phone interview.

Global investors say the state of U.S. finances is the greatest risk to the world economy and almost half are curbing their investments in response to budget battles, a Bloomberg poll showed. Thirty-six percent of respondents cited the nation’s fiscal woes as the biggest threat, compared with 29 percent who chose Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and 15 percent who named a slowing Chinese economy, according to the Jan. 17 survey of Bloomberg subscribers.

“Earnings expectations were optimistic and it’s very possible that they will be right,” Bernard Delattre, president of Altimeo Asset Management in Paris, said Wednesday. “The situation is improving in the U.S. Growth is sustained and companies will benefit.”

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) rose 11 percent to $2.73. The second-biggest maker of processors for personal computers reported fourth-quarter revenue that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by sales of chips that run servers. AMD is firing workers and selling assets to free up cash for new products, aiming to mitigate its dependence on the PC market.

Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) advanced 2.9 percent to $21.46. The biggest maker of antivirus software company reported fiscal third- quarter sales and profit that beat estimates, aided by strong demand for data-management tools.

US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) rallied 1.5 percent to $15.07. The Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier, which is pushing for a merger with bankrupt American Airlines, reported fourth-quarter profits that topped forecasts on strong travel demand and record revenue.

Cree Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) , a maker of energy-efficient lighting products, gained 22 percent to $40.85 after quarterly profit jumped 69 percent amid surging demand for its light-emitting diodes.

Map Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: MAPP) rallied 59 percent to $24.71. Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN), the maker of the wrinkle filler Botox, agreed to buy Map in a deal valued at $958 million to gain an experimental inhalable migraine treatment.

Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) tumbled 16 percent to $50.75. Sales at stores open at least a year in North America fell 2 percent in the quarter. Chief Executive Officer Lew Frankfort said the company had a “challenging” holiday season amid increased competition for women’s handbags and economic pressure on consumers.

Texas Instruments Inc. (Nasdaq: TXN) lost 1.1 percent to $33.08. The largest maker of analog chips predicted first-quarter sales that fell short of some analysts’ estimates as electronic-device makers postpone orders to keep inventory low amid lackluster demand.



Bloomberg News contributed to this report.



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