Stocks advance on Fed minutes, US earnings

Associated Press
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 8, 2014 file photo, specialist Jason Hardzewicz, left, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. A solid start to the U.S. quarterly corporate reporting season helped shore up the mood across financial markets on Wednesday, ahead of the minutes to the last policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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FILE - In this Tuesday, April 8, 2014 file photo, specialist Jason Hardzewicz, left, works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. A solid start to the U.S. quarterly corporate reporting season helped shore up the mood across financial markets on Wednesday, ahead of the minutes to the last policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is sharply higher as investors got some encouraging news about interest rates and as U.S. corporate earnings got off to a good start.

Alcoa led a rally in companies that make basic materials. The aluminum maker rose 4 percent after its earnings came in better than investors expected.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting reassured investors that the central bank won't move quickly to increase interest rates.

Technology stocks bounced back after taking a beating over the past week. Facebook surged 7 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 1,872.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 181 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,437. The Nasdaq composite rose 70 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,183.

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