Stocks rise, extending their gains into 3rd day

Stocks were higher for a third day in a row after more U.S. companies reported solid earnings and on encouraging news about China's economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 162.29 to 16,424.85. The S&P 500 index gained 19.33 to 1,862.31. The Nasdaq composite added 52.06 to 4,086.23.

Yahoo rose 6 percent. The Internet pioneer said it was benefiting from its lucrative investments in Asia. Airline stocks also rose sharply. Bank of America fell 2 percent after booking $6 billion in legal costs over its home loan practices.

March home building up after frigid winter

U.S. home construction rose in March to the highest level in three months as builders resumed work at the end of a frigid winter. But applications for building permits slid, clouding the outlook for future construction.

The Commerce Department said builders started work on 946,000 homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in March, up from 920,000 in February. Construction of single-family homes rose 6 percent.

Ford to offer a 50th anniversary Mustang

Ford is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mustang with a limited-edition model.

At the New York International Auto Show on Wednesday, the company revealed the 50 Year Limited Edition. The company will build only 1,964 special cars, honoring the year when the Mustang first went on sale.

"If you don't like this car, you don't like cars," said executive chairman Bill Ford, whose first car was a green 1975 Mustang.

The limited edition models will come in one of the two colors of Ford's logo: white or blue.

Retailer Gap outlines plans to grow in China

Gap Inc. says it plans to more than triple sales in China in three years as it seeks to grab a bigger bite of the overall $1.4 trillion global clothing market.

The clothing chain, which operates stores under the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta brands, generated $300 million in sales in China in the latest fiscal year ended Feb. 1.

The company unveiled its first Old Navy store in the country earlier this year. It plans to open about 30 more Gap stores in China in the current fiscal year.

Google's 1Q earnings falter as ad prices slip

Google's first-quarter earnings growth faltered as the Internet company dealt with a persistent downturn in advertising prices while spending more money to hire employees and invest in daring ideas.

The results announced Wednesday were below analyst projections. Although it remains among the world's most profitable companies, Google is struggling to adjust to a shift away from desktop and laptop computers to smartphones and tablets. The upheaval is lowering rates because marketers aren't as willing to pay as much to pitch consumers who are squinting at smaller screens.

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings and revenue

IBM said Wednesday its first-quarter earnings fell 21 percent to $2.38 billion because of a large charge related to reorganizing its work force. Revenue fell amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business.

IBM said a year ago that it would spend $1 billion to reshuffle the types of jobs it needs. That includes layoffs, although IBM hasn't said how many.

Wire reports