An upbeat earnings report from Google Inc. after Tuesday's market close and the widely anticipated rate hike from the Fed had stocks on Wednesday moving higher for a third straight day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 44.85, or 0.4 percent, to 10,596.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3.78, or 0.3 percent, to 1,193.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.36, or 0.3 percent, to 2,075.06.
Shares of Google, the most-used Internet search engine, surged after the company's fourth-quarter profit soared and sales topped $1 billion for the first time. For the fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, the company reported net income of $204.1 million (71 cents per diluted share), versus $27.3 million (10 cents per share) for the year-ago period. Sales doubled to $1.03 billion from $512.2 million.
The Federal Reserve Board raised interest rates by a quarter-point to 2.5 percent, as policymakers continued to gradually lift borrowing costs to ward off inflation. Analysts believe the Fed will continue to push the funds rate up in quarter-point increments through most of this year.
Among local movers, THQ Inc. had a banner day as investors reacted to news of its after-hours third-quarter earnings announcement and recent analysts' upgrades. Shares of the Calabasas Hills-based videogame publisher soared 17.9 percent to settle at $26.96 after it reported third-quarter net income of $62.9 million ($1.58 per diluted share), compared with $30.4 million (78 cents) for the year-ago period. Net sales rose 37 percent to $400.3 million from $293.1 million in the prior-year period.
Also, Wedbush Morgan upgraded the firm to "buy" from "hold" and Piper Jaffray upgraded it to "outperform" from "market perform."
Shares of 99 Cents Only Stores Inc. jumped 5.7 percent to $16.32 after Merrill Lynch upgraded its stock to "neutral" from "sell" and forecast a "steady improvement" for the dollar store industry.
On the downside, Countrywide Financial Corp. plunged 5.6 percent to close at $35.91 after the country's largest residential mortgage lender saw its fourth-quarter earnings drop 39 percent. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Calabasas-based firm reported earnings of $343.1 million (56 cents per diluted share), versus $563.7 million (94 cents per share) for the year-earlier quarter.
Shares of Staar Surgical Co. dropped 3.9 percent to $6.15 after the Monrovia-based ophthalmology device maker said the Food and Drug Administration may take further action against it due to what the FDA claims are flaws in the company's surgically implanted contact lens. Last year, the FDA warned Staar it might suspend operations at its Monrovia plant because of the flaws.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.