Homebuilder sentiment rose to lift the markets higher during the midday with the Dow gaining 78 points to 11,475. Nasdaq rose 15 points to 2630.
On the upside
Third quarter earnings for Brown & Brown (NYSE: BRO) slipped but revenue rose.
Goldman Sachs upgraded AK Steel (NYSE: AKS) to a Neutral rating from Sell.
On the downside
Hospira (NYSE: HSP) warned of losses for the third quarter and slashed its full year
Third quarter earnings more than doubled for Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) as revenue climbed but the motorcycle company lowered its margin for the fourth quarter.
New Oriental Education and Technology (NYSE: EDU) reported higher first quarter earnings and revenue but the stock price dropped.
In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by more than 5 to 3 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks climbed 9 points to 698.