- U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, as investors turned their focus to the Federal Reserve''s meeting minutes due to be published later in the trading session.

During early U.S. trade, the Dow 30 rose 0.34%, the S&P 500 gained 0.39%, while the NASDAQ Composite climbed 0.46%.

U.S. stocks found support amid speculation that recent U.S. data showing that the labor market is continuing to strengthen will not be enough to prompt the Fed to bring forward its timetable for raising interest rates.

Last week, data showed that the U.S. economy added a larger-than-forecast 288,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1%, the lowest in almost six years.

But investors remained cautious amid growing expectations that the Fed will stick to its dovish stance on monetary policy amid concerns over ongoing slow growth in inflation and wages.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) shares surged 2.96% after the aluminum producer reported late Tuesday earnings that exceeded expectations and said its restructuring charges had diminished and its core metals unit delivered strong growth.

In the financial sector, Citigroup (NYSE:C) gained 0.40% amid reports the bank is close to paying about $7 billion to resolve a U.S. probe into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities before the financial crisis.

Also on the upside, (NASDAQ:AMZN) climbed 0.64% after it said it is offering authors caught up in its dispute with Hachette Book Group all of the proceeds from the sale of any digital book.

Elsewhere, AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) slid 0.34% as the maker of the arthritis drug Humira made a fourth offer on Tuesday to buy U.K. drugmaker Shire (LONDON:SHP) for $51.6 billion. The offer values the Dublin-based company 48% higher than before AbbVie first approached it in May.

Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mostly higher. The DJ Euro Stoxx 50 gained 0.38%, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.22%, Germany''s DAX added 0.26%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 slid 0.38%.

During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng plummeted 1.55%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.08%.

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