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Stocks edge higher in early trading after two days of losses; Alcoa rises on better earnings

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NEW YORK — Stocks are edging higher in early trading after corporate earnings got off to an encouraging start.

The early gains Wednesday follow two days of losses for major U.S. indexes.

Alcoa rose 3 percent after reporting earnings the night before that were better than investors were expecting.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,928 in the first few minutes of trading.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,967. The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,401.

As companies begin turning in second-quarter results this week, investors will be looking for signs that the strengthening U.S. economy has translated into higher profits.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.57 percent.

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