Stocks popped as some of the fears that have recently plagued Wall Street moved to the back of the market's mind. Caterpillar, considered an economic bellwether for its ties to manufacturing, reported an 18.5% surge in profit from last year.
Caterpillar and 3M led the gains among industrial stocks, which rose significantly more than the rest of the market. Caterpillar rose 5 percent and 3M rose 4 percent after each company reported earnings that impressed investors.
This morning, we'll hear from industrial giants, airlines and food firms, including 3M, Caterpillar, American Airlines, Jetblue, Southwest, Dr Pepper Snapple and Dunkin Brands. Janus Capital, which has just welcomed ex-Pimco star fund manager Bill Gross, will also report earnings before the bell.
A gauge designed to predict the economy's future health posted a solid increase in September after no gain in the previous month. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.8 percent last month following a flat reading in August which originally had been reported as a small 0.2 percent gain.
A stronger than anticipated economic survey Thursday helped shore up European markets following a run of disappointing news that raised the specter of another recession across the 18-country eurozone. Financial information company Markit said its composite purchasing managers' index for the eurozone - a gauge of business activity across the manufacturing and services sectors - rose to 52.2 points in October from 52.0 in September.
Global stocks fell Thursday after another slump in oil prices added to doubts about the strength of global demand and China's manufacturing output grew at the slowest pace in five months. KEEPING SCORE: European markets were lower in morning trade.
The Toronto stock market was lower Wednesday after four days of solid, triple-digit advances while traders looked to a mixed bag of earnings news. The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 78.79 points to 14,468.92.