U.S. stocks ran higher at Tuesday's start, extending the prior session's surge to new highs for the year. Better-than-forecasted results from Caterpillar are lending support to the blue chip average. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 68 points to 8,917. Caterpillar is up 11%. The S&P 500 added 5 points to 956, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 4 points to 1,913. Plenty of earnings this morning with most company's beating estimates. Other Dow components like Coke, United Tech, Dupont, and Merck all reported better than expected earnings. Only Merck is higher by 5%. Other healthcare stocks reporting earnings include Unitedhealth Group, Schering Plough, and Forest Labs. All three are higher. The financials are mixed. Ameritrade, Jefferies, and Legg Mason are higher thanks to earnings. Zions Bancorp is down 10%, State Street is down 4%, and Regions Financial is lower by 15% on earnings. Blackrock had solid earnings, however, the stock is lower. The large cap finanicals are lower as well. In the tech sector, earnings are pretty good. JDA Software is up 28% on earnings. Sybase is higher following earnings. Cisco Systems, EMC, and Apple were upgraded, but only EMC is higher. Texas Instruments is lower after beating estimates last night. Lexmark is lower by 15% after missing estimates. After the first half an hour, the rally fizzled. Caterpillar and Merck remain strong within the Dow. Through the morning and into the afternoon, the averages gave up their gains. Even Caterpillar pulled back. Lockheed Martin is the dog of the day, down 8% after Congress cut spending on new F-22 fighter jets. Democrats are not good defense or healthcare stocks. Through the afternoon, the averages clawed back toward the unchanged level, rallying into the green in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 67 points to 8,915. The S&P 500 rose 3 points to 954, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced for a tenth straight day, up 6 points to 1,916.
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