Dow ends at record after strong Caterpillar, 3M earnings

The Dow hit a record high close as stronger-than-expected earnings from companies including 3M and Caterpillar fueled optimism about economic strength.
VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Dow surged to another record on Tuesday (Oct 24), fuelled by huge gains by industrial heavyweights Caterpillar and 3M after strong earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7 per cent to 23,441.76, its sixth record in seven sessions.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.2 per cent to 2,569.13, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent to 6,598.43.

Nearly 200 companies in the S&P 500 are set to report results this week, making it a crucial stage of the quarterly cycle. The excellent back-to-back results by Caterpillar and 3M lifted sentiment about industrials in general.

"We are seeing a rotation into stocks that are very sensitive to economic growth," said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management.

Skrainka said investors have also been cheered by progress in Washington on tax cuts.

Caterpillar gained 5.0 percent after reporting better-than-expected results and lifting its forecast as demand accelerated in construction, mining and other sectors that buy its machinery.

3M surged 5.9 per cent after lifting its 2017 forecast and after reporting sales growth across many industrial businesses and scoring a 7.5 per cent rise in third-quarter earnings to US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion).

McDonald's, another Dow component, rose 0.3 per cent after reporting a 47.7 per cent increase in quarterly earnings, behind good sales in the US, China and other key markets.

General Motors advanced 3 per cent as it reported better-than-expected operating earnings despite a US$3 billion loss due to one-time costs connected to its Opel/Vauxhall business. Analysts praised the automaker for moving aggressively to address a car inventory glut in North America.

But Whirlpool tumbled 10.5 per cent after reporting earnings and revenues that lagged behind analyst expectations. Chief executive Marc Bitzer said profit margins were impacted by raw materials cost inflation and "slow progress on our European integration," among other factors.