* Central bank policy to remain in focus
* HP rises after comments from CEO
* Celgene up on share repurchase program
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, June 12 U.S. stocks were little
changed in early trading on Wednesday, gaining modestly amid
advances in energy and materials shares, even as investors
continued to mull how soon central banks will begin to scale
back supportive measures.
Indexes came off their session highs not long after the
opening bell on Wall Street.
Hewlett-Packard was the biggest gainer on the blue
chip Dow after its chief executive said revenue growth was
"still possible" in fiscal 2014. The computer maker was up 4.6
percent at $25.36.
The benchmark S&P 500 had dropped 1 percent Tuesday
in volatile trading after Japan's central bank disappointed
markets by holding its monetary policy steady.
The lack of further action by the Bank of Japan kindled
unease over when the ultra-loose policy put in place by global
central banks will be wound down, particularly by the Federal
Monetary efforts to boost the economic recovery have been a
pillar of the rally in U.S. equities this year, and uncertainty
over when the measures will be reined in has prompted investors
to unwind trades built around such support.
"We're not getting a lot of direction but volatility has
definitely come into play here," said Joe Bell, a senior equity
analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.
"There's a bit of uncertainty right now," he said. "It seems
like every other week, there's a rumor about when or if this
quantitative easing is going to end, how much longer stimulus is
going to be in place."
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 38.78 points,
or 0.26 percent, to 15,160.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 4.68 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,630.81. The
Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 5.14 points, or 0.15
percent, at 3,442.09.
The materials sector gained 0.5 percent, while energy shares
rose 0.3 percent.
Stocks had begun the session with other asset markets
looking stronger, but some of those moves reversed in early
trading Wednesday. The dollar eased, while Treasuries prices
turned lower after earlier edging up.
Celgene Corp rose 2.1 percent to $121.24 after the
company announced an additional $3-billion share repurchase
First Solar slipped 3 percent to $50.73, a day
after the company reaffirmed its 2013 guidance and announced an
8.5 million share offering.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co surged more than 40 percent
after India's Apollo Tyres Ltd said it would buy the
company for about $2.5 billion. Cooper Tire shot up 40.6 percent