Stocks Climbed as Earnings Roll In, UPS Profit Rose

U.S. stocks advanced in the early trading on Thursday, as investors dealt with a raft of earnings, including those of 3M Co, along with data on the labor market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 10.38 points, or 0.07%, to trade at 14,686.68, The S&P 500 index climbed 4.85 points, or 0.31%, to 1,583.64. The Nasdaq Composite rose 18.90
points, or 0.58%, to 3,281.88.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by a surprisingly large 16,000,  offering reassurance the bottom is not falling out of the labor market despite signs of slower growth. Initial  claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the Labor Department said on  Thursday.

United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) reported a quarterly profit above analysts’ estimates, buoyed by a stronger-than- expected post-holiday season in January. UPS’s international package revenue was flat in the quarter, while sales in  the United States rose 3.4 percent. Total revenue rose 2.2 percent to $13.43 billion.Net income rose to $1.04  billion, or $1.08 per share, in the first quarter, from $970 million, or $1 per share, a year earlier.

Diversified U.S. manufacturer 3M Co slashed its 2013 profit forecast on Thursday, saying weakening demand and  foreign currency fluctuations hurt results more than expected. 3M now expects to earn $6.60 to $6.85 per share this year, a range mostly below the $6.82 average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) said on Thursday its quarterly profit edged up, helped by higher earnings in its chemicals  business but oil and gas production fell. First-quarter profit totaled $9.5 billion, or $2.12 per share, compared with $9.45 billion, or $2 per share, a year earlier.

Supply issues have snarled the U.S. rollout of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s latest flagship smartphone, which will go on sale at carriers Sprint and T-Mobile later than expected, the wireless service providers said on Wednesday.

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