Stocks rise, aided by Ford, 3M results

Stocks rise on Wall Street, helped by better earnings from Ford, 3M, others

Associated Press
Higher profits from Ford, others drive stocks up
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. World markets were mostly higher Thursday,Oct. 24, 2013 buoyed by an improvement in China's manufacturing, but Chinese shares fell amid jitters over tighter credit in the world's second largest economy. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The stock market moved higher Thursday, recovering from a loss the day before, as investors reacted to earnings gains from Ford, AT&T and the industrial conglomerate 3M, among others.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 71 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,484 as of 12:35 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,751.14 — roughly four points from the record high of 1,755.67 it reached on Tuesday.

The Nasdaq composite was up 19 points, or 0.5 percent, to 3,926.

It's one of the busiest weeks on Wall Street for corporate earnings. Roughly a third of the S&P 500 will report results, including some of the world's best-known companies.

Ford earned an adjusted profit of 45 cents per share — a record for the third quarter — as sales rose 12 percent to $36 billion. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker sold 1.5 million cars and trucks in the period, up 16 percent. Wall Street analysts had expected Ford to earn 37 cents per share, according to FactSet. Ford rose 24 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $17.77.

3M, one of the 30 stocks in the Dow average, beat Wall Street expectations as well.

3M, whose many products include facial masks and Post-it notes, earned $1.78 per share in the third quarter, up from $1.65 per share in same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 6 percent to $7.92 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of $1.75 per share on revenue of $7.86 billion.

Minnesota-based 3M's shares edged up 11 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $123.30.

AT&T fell 38 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $34.90. The telecommunications company said late Wednesday it had an adjusted profit of 66 cents in the third quarter, a penny above analysts' forecast, however revenue fell slightly short of what analysts expected.

After the closing bell, investors will have results from technology giants Amazon and Microsoft to work through.

For investors, this week has been a return to business as usual. Wall Street has been focused for weeks on what's going on in Washington, with the government shutdown, the near-breach of the nation's borrowing limit and questions about what's next for the Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program.

So far, corporate earnings have come in pretty much as most money managers expected. Companies are reporting bigger profits, but most of the growth has come from cost-cutting — a practice that hasn't changed since the financial crisis.

"We're in a slow-growth economy and companies need to do everything to boost earnings," said Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist at Rosenblatt Securities.

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