US stocks end mostly up as Tesla, Microsoft gain

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Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Thursday (Oct 24), with strong results from Tesla and Microsoft offsetting weak profits from Ford and some other companies.

The mixed results have so far given investors "both tricks and treats," said CFRA's Sam Stovall, describing several large outsized moves in stocks after unexpected results.

Through Wednesday, companies in the S&P 500 were expected to see a 3.8 per cent drop in year-over-year earnings, although seven of 11 sectors were besting analyst expectations, Stovall said in a note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.1 per cent at 26,805.53.

The broad-based S&P added 0.2 per cent to close at 3,010.29, leaving it within close distance of an all-time record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.8 per cent to end the day at 8,185.80.

Electric carmaker Tesla surged 17.7 per cent after reporting a surprise profit of US$143 million (S$195 million), confounding analysts who had been forecasting a loss.

Tech giant Microsoft gained 2 per cent as it reported a 21 per cent increase in quarterly profits to US$10.7 billion on its thriving cloud computing business.

American Airlines jumped 4 per cent and Southwest Airlines gained 5.7 per cent as the airlines reported higher earnings in spite of the hit from the prolonged grounding of the 737 Max.

The companies signaled they expect to be reimbursed by Boeing for hundreds of millions of dollars in costs related to the troubles with the aircraft.

American also said it expects more shareholder paybacks in the coming years after concluding a multi-year investment initiative to renew its plane fleet.

But Twitter plunged 20.9 per cent after it reported a sharp drop in quarterly profits as glitches in its ad-targeting ability hit revenues.

And Ford sank 6.6 per cent as it cut its full-year profit forecast, citing increased incentive spending in North America and lower sales in China.

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