Stocks Opened Higher, McDonald’s Shares Climbed

U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, as the European Central Bank suggested that it might expand its economic stimulus plan. Upbeat quarterly results from Dow industrials component McDonald’s Corp. also helped lift the market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 148.65 points, or 0.87%, to 17,317.26. The S&P 500 gained 19.89 points, or 0.99%, to 2,038.83. The Nasdaq Composite was up 55.66 points, or 1.15%, to 4,895.77.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted the central bank could expand its stimulus program at its December policy meeting.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) reported its first rise in quarterly global same-restaurant sales in more than a year and said the trend would continue into the current quarter, suggesting that CEO Steve Easterbrook’s turnaround efforts were bearing fruit. Global comparable sales rose 4 percent in the third quarter, their first rise in more than one year.

The four-week average of initial jobless claims fell to its lowest level in four decades, even as claims for the latest week inched higher. The four-week average of claims decreased to 263,250 from 265,250 in the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Initial unemployment claims in the week ended Oct. 17 rose by 3,000 to 259,000.

Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) on Thursday reported lower quarterly profits, cut its 2015 earnings forecast and warned its revenue would tumble in 2016. The company said it saw full-year 2015 earnings per share at $3.70, down from the $4.70 seen in the second quarter.

Dow Chemical Co. beat third-quarter profit expectations, raised its dividend and said it planned to accelerate its share repurchase program. Earnings rose to $1.29 billion, or $1.09 a share, from $852 million, or 71 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

3M Co. (MMM) reported on Thursday a third-quarter profit that beat expectations, but sales that missed expectations and said it would cut 1,500 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan. Earnings for the quarter ended Sept. 30 came in at $1.3 billion, or $2.05 a share, compared with $1.3 billion, or $1.98 a share, in the same period a year ago.

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