Helped by solid earnings, US stock indexes turn higher again

By Marley Jay, The Associated Press

Stocks turned mostly higher on Wall Street Tuesday morning as investors were encouraged by some solid earnings reports from several big U.S. companies.

Oreo maker Mondelez rose and athletic gear maker Under Armour soared after reporting their latest quarterly results. Banks rose along with interest rates.

Utilities and real estate investment trusts also climbed. They’ve done far better than the rest of the stock market recently as trading became much more volatile this month.

European stocks fell after the region’s economy slowed down in the third quarter.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 22 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 2,664 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 197 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 24,618. The Nasdaq composite added 49 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 7,096.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 18 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 1,495.

Stocks started Monday with strong gains, but those gradually faded and the market wound up with more losses after Bloomberg News reported that the Trump administration could announce tariffs on all remaining U.S. imports from China in early December if the two countries don’t make progress in trade talks.

HOW SWEET IT IS: Mondelez gained 3.6 per cent to $41.54 after its third-quarter profit surpassed analysts’ projections. The maker of Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolate and Trident gum made up for some of its losses earlier this year.

Other companies that make and sell household goods also rose. Procter & Gamble rose 0.8 per cent to $88.97 and Walmart added 1.6 per cent to $101.43.

Among real estate investment trusts, wireless communications infrastructure company American Tower climbed 4.9 per cent to $160.31 and senior housing and health care real estate company Welltower gained 2.3 per cent to $67.52 after releasing their third-quarter reports.

Power company Scana jumped 9.2 per cent to $40.54. The S&P 500’s index of utilities has climbed 3.5 per cent over the last month and household goods makers are up about 2 per cent. The broader S&P 500 has tumbled 9 per cent over the same time.

GE GAINS: General Electric cut its quarterly dividend again and said it will break up its power business into two divisions after it took a $22 billion charge in the third quarter.

GE had halved its dividend to 12 cents from 24 cents in December, and cut it to 1 cent Tuesday. The company said the new cut will save it about $3.9 billion a year.

The stock rose 1 per cent to $11.28 in morning trading as investors appeared hopeful that the worst may be behind the company. Earlier this month GE replaced CEO John Flannery after only about a year on the job, installing Larry Culp, a highly regarded executive who last led Danaher Corp.

OVERSEAS: The economy of the 19-country eurozone unexpectedly slowed in the third quarter. It expanded by 0.2 per cent in the July-September period, which fell short of analyst forecasts. It grew 0.4 per cent during the second quarter.

Experts say Europe was hurt by one-off factors like new emissions standards for cars, so growth is likely to pick up again. But they say it’s unlikely to match last year’s strong performance as the region faces issues like Britain’s departure from the EU, trade disputes and a clash with Italy over that country’s budget.

Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 per cent and France’s CAC 40 lost 0.3 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.1 per cent.

A weakening of the Chinese yuan helped some stock indexes in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.5 per cent after official data showed that the unemployment rate dipped to 2.3 per cent in September. South Korea’s Kospi picked up 0.9 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.9 per cent.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.11 per cent from 3.08 per cent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 2 per cent to $65.69 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 2.3 per cent to $75.62 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.85 yen from 112.35 yen. The euro fell to $1.1375 from $1.1390.

This article provided by NewsEdge.