Strong earnings push stock market into the green

By Penny Yi Wang

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(Graph by Penny Yi Wang)

The U.S. stock market posted strong gains Tuesday with most indices rising for a fourth consecutive session as quarterly earnings reports drove investors’ confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reclaimed the 17,000 level for the first time since Oct. 3, closing at 17,005.75, a gain of 187.8 points or 1.12 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 23.4 points, or 1.19 percent, to close at 1,985.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 78.4 points, or 1.75 percent, to close at 4,564.29.

As stocks gained, the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.29 percent from 2.26 percent Monday.

Analysts said third quarter earnings have been better than most expected.

“About three-fourths of the companies in the S&P 500 Index have beaten earnings estimates while over half have also surpassed revenue projections,” said William Lynch, investment director at Hinsdale Associates Inc. “These solid earnings reports have been welcome news for the stock market.”

Among Tuesday’s top gainers were AutoNation Inc. and Cummins Inc., which both released higher-than-expected earnings. Whirlpool Corp. reported strong North America trends, and Amgen Inc. beat sales estimates. Shares of all five companies surged by more than 6 percent on the positive news.

Coach Inc. shares fell 6 percent after the fashion brand reported slower sales in Asia and predicted a further plunge for the year. Twitter Inc., down 8.8 percent, did not miss estimates but upset the market with the social media platform’s slow user growth.

Investors shrugged off September’s report on durable goods orders that showed an unexpected decline of 1.3 percent. The Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in October to 94.5 from September’s 89.

The news on the economy has been mixed, prompting economists to predict that the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee will announce an end to its asset-buying program at the conclusion of its two-day meeting Wednesday, but will likely maintain its outlook for close-to-zero interest rates for “a considerable time.”