NEW YORK CITY: US stocks rose Thursday amid a mixed bag of earnings reports, as investors punished underperforming companies while bidding the overall market higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 95.88 points (0.62 per cent) to 15,509.21.
The broad-based S&P 500 tacked on 5.69 (0.33 per cent) at 1,752.07, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 21.89 (0.56 per cent) to 3,928.96.
Peter Cardillo, director of investment research at Rockwell Global Capital, said the market is "feeding on itself" amid recent momentum and confidence the Federal Reserve will maintain an aggressive stimulus policy.
"We're in a market that has a momentum, going up fast, it's going to have to pause some day," Cardillo said. "But right now, it's all about easy money, cheap money, as long as the Fed doesn't taper."
Of the 213 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far, 141 have exceeded expectations and 43 have missed, with the remainder in line with forecasts, according to a report by S&P Capital IQ.
Ford rose 1.4 per cent after earnings of 45 cents per share bested expectations by 8 cents, helped by shrinking losses in Europe and record sales in the Asia Pacific Africa division.
Other companies to exceed expectations included Dow component 3M (up 0.2 per cent) and homebuilder PulteGroup (up 7.0 per cent).
Dow Chemical slid 1.0 per cent after earnings per share came in 5 cents short of forecasts of 54 cents, and revenues also disappointed. The company said it plans US$3 billion-US$4 billion in divestitures.
Copy-machine manufacturer Xerox fell 10.4 per cent after forecasting fourth-quarter earnings of 28-30 cents per share, below current analyst projections of 33 cents.
Cameron International, an oil services company, plummeted 14.3 per cent after missing earnings expectations and forecasting a weaker performance in the upcoming quarter. Cameron expects to earn 95 cents-US$1.00 per share, below the US$1.12 forecast by analysts.
Digital security company Symantec fell 12.7 per cent after forecasting earnings for the upcoming quarter at 41-43 cents per share, well below the 51 cents seen by analysts. The company said it was committed to achieving its 2015-2017 financial targets.
Technology giant Apple advanced 1.3 per cent after activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed he raised his stake in Apple and amplified his call for a US$150 billion share buyback. -- AFP