Earnings gains push Dow, S&P 500 to new highs
NEW YORK — Earnings gains at major companies and encouraging economic news pushed stocks to record levels on Thursday.
A drop in claims for unemployment benefits signaled a healthier economy and encouraged investors to buy stocks. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said manufacturing in its region grew at the fastest pace in more than two years this month.
Among companies reporting quarterly earnings, Morgan Stanley was one of the standouts, rising $1.16, or 4.4 percent, to $27.70. The New York bank reported sharply higher earnings driven by investment banking gains and said it planned to spend $500 million buying back its stock. IBM rose $3.44, or 1.8 percent, to $197.99 after its profit beat analysts' forecasts.
Energy companies rose as the price of oil shot to a 16-month high on signs that the economy is improving. Technology stocks lagged the market in response to lackluster results from eBay and Intel. Industry bellwethers Google and Microsoft both plunged 5 percent in post-market trading after reporting disappointing earnings after the close.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 8.46 points to 1,689.37. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 78.02 points to 15,548.54. The Dow's gains were led by IBM and UnitedHealth Group, which reported better earnings than analysts were expecting.
The Nasdaq composite edged up 1.28 points to 3,611.28.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.