Stocks Opened Higher on Earnings and Economic Data

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday in greeting a round of better-than-expected earnings from companies including Caterpillar Inc. as well as solid U.S. economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 65.57 points to 12,822.53. The S&P 500 Index gained 5.22 points to 1,331.27. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 11.47 points to 2,829.78.

Caterpillar says its fourth-quarter profit jumped 60 percent, boosted by a steep increase in global demand. It reported net income of $1.55 billion, or $2.32 per share, up from $968 million, or $1.47 per share, in the same quarter last year. Sales and revenue jumped 24 percent to $17.24 billion from $12.81 billion.

3M Co (NYSE:MMM) reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday as demand from industrial and transport markets offset weak sales to makers of consumer electronics. It reported net earnings of $954 million, or $1.35 per share, compared with $928 million, or $1.28 per share, a year earlier.

New orders for manufactured goods rose in December and a gauge of future business investment rebounded, while new claims for jobless benefits rose only moderately last week, suggesting the labor market was still healing. Durable goods orders climbed 3.0 percent, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Separately, Jobless claims climbed by 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 377,000 in the week ended Jan. 21, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.

Greece’s tortuous negotiations over a debt swap with private creditors entered a new phase on Thursday with focus on how much the European Central Bank and other public creditors may need to contribute.

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