Stocks Soar on Corporate Results

U.S. stocks soared on Thursday, boosted from a slew of strong earnings reports from companies ranging from heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT) to automaker General Motors (GM). The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 216.58 points, or 1.32%, higher at 16,677.90. The S&P 500 gained 23.71 points, or 1.23%, to finish at 1,950.82. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 69.94 points, or 1.60%, to close at 4,452.79.

Caterpillar Inc reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and boosted its 2014 profit outlook, citing strong demand for its products in North America. Excluding restructuring costs, Caterpillar said it now expects to earn $6.50 a share in 2014, against an original estimate of $5.85.

General Motors Co. on Thursday posted third-quarter earnings up 98 percent , bolstered by strong North America and China results and reiterated it was on track to slightly improve pre-tax earnings this year. GM earnings hit 97 cents a share, beating analysts’ estimates for 95 cents a share.

Microsoft Corp. reported the solid pace of its cloud growth continued in the latest quarter, while restructuring costs tied to the mobile-phone business it acquired from Nokia Corp. were a drag on earnings.Microsoft posted a profit for its first quarter ended Sept. 30 of $4.54 billion, or 54 cents a share, down from $5.24 billion, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 25% to $23.2
billion.

Amazon.com revealed a significantly wider-than-expected quarterly loss, coupled with sales that trailed analysts’ estimates.For the third quarter, Amazon reported a loss of $427 million, or 95 cents a share, compared with a loss of $41 million, or 9 cents a share, a year earlier.

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