Market Update & Important Indicators
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged Tuesday, putting the blue-chip index on track for its best day since September. Better-than-expected earnings results from Caterpillar and 3M, among others, helped support major indexes after stocks had fallen a day earlier. Strong results from U.S. companies, as well as solid economic growth around the world, have underpinned stock markets and helped push them to record highs over the past year. About 24% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported results for the third quarter so far, with this week slated to be one the busiest, according to FactSet. By the end of Friday, more than half of the major index's companies will have reported results for the most recent quarter. Shares of 3M jumped 6.8% after the maker of Post-it Notes, Ace bandages and Scotch-Brite cleaning pads reported higher profit and revenue that exceeded analysts' expectations, while also raising its outlook. 3M is on course for its biggest single-day percent gain since at least 2009. Caterpillar, meanwhile, gained about 5% after the company posted stronger-than-expected revenue and profit growth and boosted its outlook for the year. Together, the two companies contributed more than 140 points to the Dow industrials' gain. The Dow industrials were up 0.7% in the last half-hour of trading — above their previous closing high. The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.2%. The U.S. gold price traded lower overnight, slipping 0.4% to finish at 1,276.30 US$/oz.
A pan-European stock benchmark closed lower Tuesday after two days of gains, weighed down by earnings-driven drops for Swedish miner Boliden and hospitality chain Whitbread. National equity gauges for Europe's biggest economies edged higher, as data showed a slowing in the eurozone economy ahead of a closely watched European Central Bank meeting later in the week. The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed 0.4% lower, erasing part of its recent advance.
Asian stock markets generally posted slight gains as investors awaited details from China's concluding Party Congress. Indexes in Taiwan and South Korea rose less than 0.1%, but that was enough to push the Kospi to a fresh record high. Hong Kong stocks lagged on further declines for insurers, with the Hang Seng falling 0.5% to notch its first set of consecutive declines in a month. The Nikkei added 0.5% on last-hour buying, allowing the index to rise for a record-extending 16th-straight session. Softness was seen in Southeast Asia, with Singapore's benchmark down 0.4%.
Australian shares stayed in positive territory, adding modestly to strong gains the last two weeks after a choppy session. The S&P/ASX 200 settled up less than 0.1% as gains by materials companies and utilities helped counter softness in major banks and falls by energy stocks after a muted session for oil overnight. Myer gained 0.7% as it squares off against its largest shareholder, Premier Investments. The ASX 200 has advanced in nine of the last 10 sessions, and is up 3.8% in October after falling in each of the last five months.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded higher overnight, gaining 0.4% to finish at $7,035/t. The other base metals finished mostly higher. Aluminium prices added 0.9% to close at 2,145/t, whilst tin prices jumped 1.0% to 19,877/t. Zinc prices rebounded 1.9% to 3,246/t, while Lead prices lost 1.2% to 2,460/t. Nickel prices rose overnight, closing 1.2% higher at 11,940/t.
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