US shares push higher amid earnings caution

NEW YORK (AFP) - United States stocks reversed two days of losses to close higher on Wednesday amid caution as investors await fourth-quarter earnings results.

At the close of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 61.66 points (0.46 per cent) at 13,390.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 3.87 (0.27 per cent) to 1,461.02, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 14.00 (0.45 per cent) to 3,105.81.

Alcoa, the first blue-chip company to release fourth-quarter financial results after trade closed on Tuesday, slipped 0.2 per cent after earnings for the quarter came in as expected.

Shares in American Airlines parent AMR Corp soared 42.9 per cent to US$1.29 after a company lawyer involved in its bankruptcy restructuring said that stockholders' shares would retain some value when the process is completed.

Shares have also risen sharply since late November on speculation that American could merge with US Airways.

Aircraft producer Boeing rebounded 3.6 per cent after Tuesday's fall on news of more problems with its 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

The company insisted that the new problems, including an electrical fire in one plane and a fuel leak in another, were unrelated to problems reported elsewhere.

DISH Network's unexpected rival bid for Clearwire, topping Sprint Nextel's offer by 11 per cent, drove heavy trade in the shares of all three.

Clearwire gained 7.2 per cent and DISH 2.5 per cent, while Sprint, whose takeover by Japan's Softbank is closely tied to its successful bid for Clearwire, lost 1.5 per cent.

Nutrition and weight-management company Herbalife jumped 7.5 per cent after hedge fund Third Point took an 8.24 per cent stake in the company.

Bond prices were flat. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held at 1.86 per cent from Tuesday, while the 30-year was 3.06 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.