U.S. stocks open higher as tech profit reports draw attention

Stocks rose in early trading Wednesday after profit reports from Yahoo Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. helped shore up investors' flagging confidence in the technology sector.

Tech stocks have borne most of Wall Street's concern about the health of corporate earnings in recent weeks. Restive investors, taking their cues from a flurry of profit reports, have been at turns pleased and concerned about the prospects that profit growth will help drive stocks higher following a sharp run-up in 2006.

Investors could also keep tabs on the energy and health sectors Wednesday following President George W. Bush's State of the Union address in which he called for expanded health insurance coverage and a 20 percent reduction the country's consumption of gasoline over the next 10 years.

In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.49, or 0.28 percent, at 12,569.29.

Broader stock indicators were also higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 4.00, or 0.28 percent, at 1,431.99 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 15.42, or 0.63 percent, at 2,446.83.

Bonds rose, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.80 percent from 4.81 percent late Tuesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices

Light, sweet crude was down 39 cents at $54.65 per barrel in premarket electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The move comes after oil rose more than $2 per barrel Tuesday on word the United States plans to double the size of its Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The increase is expected to occur over decades, however.

In corporate news, Yahoo jumped $1.79, or 6.6 percent, to $28.75 after the Internet-search company's fourth-quarter profit topped Wall Street's estimates. The company unveiled a search technology and said it expects to draw more revenue from each page view during the year, reports AP.

Sun Microsystems, a maker of server and storage products, rose 50 cents, or 8.8 percent, to $6.16 after the company reported its first quarterly profit in years as revenue increased. Earnings were above what Wall Street expected.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 3.15, or 0.40 percent, at 788.53.

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