U.S. stocks posted modest gains on Wednesday, led by the energy and technology sectors. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved 0.4% higher, the S&P 500 index gained 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.7%.
The energy sector reacted favorably to an almost 5% rally in crude prices. Earlier today, the International Energy Agency raised its 2015 global oil demand forecast by 90,000 barrels a day, to 93.6 million, citing colder temperatures in the first quarter and a steadily improving global economy. In addition, weekly U.S. oil inventories showed a smaller-than-expected build this morning.
Despite the gains in most areas of the market, France-based Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) was the big loser of the session, falling 18%. Nokia (NOK) confirmed its $16.6 billion acquisition earlier today. The purchase had been rumored for several days and traders were clearly disappointed with the terms.
In after-hours action, Netflix (NFLX) is leading the earnings parade, trading more than 12% higher. Excluding one-time items, the company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and also boosted its subscriber forecast.
Elsewhere, Fed President Jeffrey Lacker is speaking in Charleston, S.C., at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition, traders will be paying close attention to the pricing of Etsy's (ETSY) IPO, which is expected to sell 16.7 million shares at $14 to $16.
Looking ahead to Thursday morning, Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS) and UnitedHealth (UNH) headline the earnings calendar. On the economic front, we'll get a look at housing starts and weekly initial jobless claims before the opening bell.