Apple surge lifts Nasdaq to its best day this year

The Nasdaq composite index shot 2 percent higher Wednesday, powered by a surge in Apple. The iPhone maker’s stock climbed $50 after the company once again blew past Wall Street’s profit forecasts.

With Apple’s help, the technology-focused Nasdaq posted its best day this year.

Apple, the biggest component of the index by far, climbed 8.9 percent after reporting that its earnings doubled in the first three months of the year. The company sold 35 million iPhones, twice as many as in the same quarter a year ago.

The surge made back about half of what Apple’s stock lost in the two weeks before its earnings announcement late Tuesday. One reason for the slump was an analyst’s suggestion that Apple could not keep up the momentum in iPhone sales.

Stock in Apple, the most valuable public company in the world, hit $644 in intraday trading on April 10 and slid as low as $555 on Tuesday.

Apple jumped nearly $50 to $610 on Wednesday. The gain helped power the Nasdaq up 68.03 points to 3,029.63. Apple makes up 12 percent of the Nasdaq.

The Nasdaq rose more than other market indexes thanks to its heavy weighting of Apple shares. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index includes Apple; the Dow Jones industrial average doesn’t.

The Dow gained 89.16 points to close at 13,090.72, a 0.7 percent increase. The S&P 500 index rose 18.72 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,390.69. Apple accounts for 4 percent of the S&P 500. 

Automakers near agreement on testing replacement resin

Six major automakers and 19 suppliers are close to agreeing on a fast-track testing process for replacements to a resin that’s in dangerously short supply.

The Automotive Industry Action Group, a nonprofit trade group, said Monday that General Motors, Ford, Honda and others are expected to finalize the plan next week.

The plan would set standards for testing materials that could replace PA-12 resin. Such testing usually takes months.

PA-12 is used for fuel and brake lines. It has been in tight supply since an explosion last month at a German factory.

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson told CNBC Monday that the company has enough supply to get through most of May.

“Then I think things will sort themselves out,” he said. 

Airlines report quarterly profits despite rising fares

Rising fares haven’t kept passengers away, judging by financial results at Delta Air Lines and US Airways.

Both airlines reported quarterly profits on Wednesday. And both said travel demand appears to be holding up, suggesting that planes will be full and fares will be higher for the busy summer travel season.

Delta, the nation’s second-biggest airline, said it will reduce flying by as much as 3 percent during the quarter that ends in June. The idea is that travelers will pay more for the remaining seats. So far, that appears to be working.

Delta earned $124 million for the most recent quarter and US Airways earned $48 million. Both airlines lost money a year ago, and both benefited from special items for their quarterly profit this year.