U.S. stocks open modestly higher following a sharp sell off late in the day yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31 points to 9,981. The Dow is higher thanks to better than expected earnings from Travelers, McDonalds, 3M, and AT&T. The S&P 500 gained nearly a point to 1,082 and the Nasdaq Composite fell fractionally to stand at 2,150. Travelers is jumping 5% after better than expected earnings, raised guidance, a hike in the dividend, and a boost to the share buyback. All the insurers are higher. The banks are mixed following a sharp sell off in Wells Fargo last night on a downgrade from Dick Bove. PNC Bank is jumping 10% after easily beating estimates. Raymond James, Fifth Third, and Ameriprise are also higher following earnings. Credit Suisse, SunTrust, and Legg Mason are lower following earnings. In the tech sector, Ebay is weak following lackluster earnings. VMware, Sybase, and NCR are lower as well following earnings. Qlogic is jumping 5% after beating estimates. The healthcare sector remains weak. Amgen is down 4% following earnings last night. Bristol Myers and Schering Plough are modestly lower following earnings. In the commodity space the steel stocks are lower. Nucor and Reliance Steel are both down over 3% following earnings. Agricultural and fertilizer firms Bunge and Potash are lower on lackluster earnings. Freeport McMoRan, however, is jumping 2% following great earnings yesterday and an upgrade today. After the first hour the Dow remained in the green, but not by much. The Nasdaq is in the red. The retail space looks good this morning. J. Crew is up 11% after lifting guidance. Skechers is up 13% following strong earnings and an upgrade. Black and Decker is also higher following earnings. Three airliners reported earnings US Airways, Delta, and Jetblue. All three are lower. Railroad company Union Pacific is modestly higher on earnings. The railroads are the way to go. Through the morning the Dow pushed higher thanks to IBM, AT&T, Travelers, Honeywell, McDonalds, 3M, and Exxon Mobil. The Nasdaq remains in the red along with most tech stocks. In the afternoon, the Dow kept pushing higher thanks to the same group of stocks. Even the Nasdaq moved into the green. In the last hour the averages remained strong not far from the highs of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 131 points, or 1.3%, at 10,081. The S&P 500 Index rose 11 points, or 1.1%, to end at 1,092. The Nasdaq Composite which spent the bulk of the day in the red, finished up 14 points at 2,165.
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