IBM shares soar on earnings surprise; Anthem up on CVS scrips deal

Last Updated Oct 18, 2017 12:56 PM EDT

Financial companies led U.S. stock indexes mostly higher in morning trading Wednesday as investors pored over the latest batch of company earnings and deal news. IBM surged on strong quarterly results, lifting technology sector stocks. Energy companies declined as early gains in crude oil prices faded.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,560 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 135 points, or 0.6 percent, to 23,132, lifted by a big gain in IBM. The Nasdaq composite slid 1 point to 6,622. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,502. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 and Dow posted record highs on Monday and Tuesday.

BETTING ON BANKS: Financial stocks notched some of the biggest gains. Assurant rose $5.30, or 5.5 percent, to $101.16.

TECH STAR: IBM jumped 9.5 percent after the technology company delivered strong quarterly results. Its shares rose $13.90 to $160.40.

DONE DEAL: Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurer, climbed 3.5 percent after announcing that it's entered a prescription benefits management deal with CVS. Anthem shares added $6.61 to $193.87. CVS rose 78 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $73.41.

BANKING ON IT: Northern Trust shares picked up 5.4 percent after the bank's earnings and revenue beat Wall Street's estimates. The bank also said it plans to cut $250 million in annual spending by 2020. The stock added $4.95 to $96.05.

DO OR DO NOT: Electronic Arts slid 3 percent after the video game company said it will postpone an upcoming "Star Wars" game to make changes. The game was scheduled to be released next year or early in 2019. EA is also closing down its Visceral Games studio. Shares lost $3.46 to $112.52.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.34 percent from 2.30 percent late Tuesday.

ENERGY: Oil prices lost some of their gains from earlier in the day. Benchmark U.S. crude added 10 cents to $51.98 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2 cents to $57.86 a barrel in London.

The move weighed on energy stocks. Chevron slid $1.51, or 1.3 percent, to $118.71.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.99 yen from 112.18 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1776 from $1.1772.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: European stock markets were moving higher. Germany's DAX gained 0.3 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.3 percent higher. U.S. stocks were poised for a solid opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was little changed. South Korea's Kospi lost nearly 0.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was flat.