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Stocks higher on industrial production growth

NEW YORK CITY — Stocks overcame an early slide Wednesday and turned higher as investors tried to extend a September rally.

Major indexes fluctuated throughout the morning before rising in midday trading. Traders were heartened by a national reading on industrial production that showed the sector grew last month for the 12th time 14 months. The national reading overshadowed a disappointing regional report on September manufacturing activity in New York.

The regional New York report came out first and initially sent stock prices lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 32 points in afternoon trading. Broader indexes posted smaller gains.

In corporate news, MasterCard Inc. rose sharply after saying it expects its income to rise at least 20 percent this year. Shares rose $11.55, or 5.8 percent, to $211.30.

Kraft Foods Inc., known for brands like Nabisco and Maxwell House, rose after saying its earnings would jump between 9 percent and 11 percent over the next three years thanks to growth in developing markets. Shares rose 44 cents to $31.49 and earlier hit a new high for the year.

Stocks rose sharply during the first half of the month, even though September is historically a weak period for stocks. The Dow has risen eight of the past 10 days and is up more than 5 percent so far in September. A strong manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management set off the rally two weeks ago.

The Dow rose 31.79, or 0.3 percent, to 10,558.28 in afternoon trading.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.00, or 0.2 percent, to 1,123.10 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 8.59, or 0.4 percent, to 2,298.36.

Traders Wednesday focused more on the industrial production report, setting aside a disappointing reading on manufacturing activity in New York. The Empire State Manufacturing Survey Index, which measured activity in the state in September, came in well below forecasts.

European markets were mainly lower, but stocks in Japan surged 2.3 percent after the country’s government stepped in to weaken the yen. The yen had been hitting 15-year highs against the dollar, which makes it harder for Japanese exporters to compete on global markets.

Japan sold an undisclosed amount of yen in foreign exchange markets to weaken its currency, which was threatening to endanger manufacturers like Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. export goods around the world. The dollar rose 3 percent against the yen.

Treasury prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 2.72 percent from 2.67 percent late Tuesday. Its yield is often used to help set interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans.

Rising stocks were about even with falling ones on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 575 million shares.