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Stocks rise following minutes from Fed meeting and an encouraging start to corporate earnings

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The stock market is sharply higher as investors got some encouraging news about interest rates and as U.S. corporate earnings got off to a good start.

Alcoa led a rally in companies that make basic materials. The aluminum maker rose 4 per cent after its earnings came in better than investors expected.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting reassured investors that the central bank won't move quickly to increase interest rates.

Technology stocks bounced back after taking a beating over the past week. Facebook surged 7 per cent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 20 points, or 1.1 per cent, to close at 1,872.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 181 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 16,437. The Nasdaq composite rose 70 points, or 1.7 per cent, to 4,183.

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