Ford gains on talks with Toyota
In early after noon trade on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had added 0.60 percent to 12,481.57. The Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 were also higher, with the Nasdaq gaining 0.63 percent to 2,428.80 and the S&P advancing 0.51 percent to 1,424.19. The Russell 2000 small-caps index was up 0.87 percent to 795.03. Trade volumes were low.
Ford was up 11 cents to $7.60 and US-traded shares in Toyota gained $2.03 to $133.64 on the news that top executives of the two automakers had met for talks.
Homebuilders were up on new data showing that new home sales were up more than had been anticipated in November. Hovnanian Enterprises added 44 cents to $33.68, while Toll Brothers was 66 cents higher to $32.35 and KB Home gained 79 cents to $51.58.
The retail sector was mixed on figures from the International Council of Shopping Centers that showed pre-Christmas holiday shopping was not as strong has had been hoped. Federated Department Stores was up 37 cents to $38.13, but Target only managed to hold steady at $57.09 and Wal-Mart fell 13 cents to $45.98.
Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. dropped 43 cents to $42.64 after it announced that it will sell the Minneapolis Star Tribune to a private equity company in a deal worth $530 million.