NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose Thursday in early trading, driven by encouraging earnings from companies including Caterpillar and General Motors. Investors were also encouraged by some positive manufacturing news out of Europe.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 21 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,948, as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 211 points, or 1.3 percent, to 16,672. The Nasdaq composite rose 46 points, or 1 percent, to 4,428.
PICKUP IN EARNINGS: General Motors said that big profits from rising SUV and truck sales in North America helped it nearly double its third-quarter net profit. The July-September quarter was also the first this year without significant charges for recalls. The company’s stock rose 48 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $31.78.
COST CUTTING BOOST: Caterpillar’s belt tightening paid off in the third quarter as the manufacturer easily beat Wall Street expectations for the third quarter. Even as new evidence of a global economic slowdown emerged, Caterpillar raised its outlook for earnings for the year. The company’s stock gained $4.26, or 4.5 percent, to $98.88
EUROPEAN DATA: In Europe, a survey of the manufacturing and services sectors eased some fears that the eurozone may be slipping back into recession. Financial information company Markit says its composite purchasing managers index for the 18-country bloc, a broad gauge of business activity, rose to 52.2 points in October from 52.0 in September. Analysts had forecast a small decline.
EUROPEAN MARKETS: European markets fluctuated between gains and losses. France’s CAC-40 rose 0.7 percent to 4,132. Germany’s DAX gained 0.4 percent to 8,975. Britain’s FTSE 100 was little changed at 6,396.
ENERGY: Oil prices stabilized after trading lower earlier on a report from the U.S Energy Department that showed oil inventories grew far more than expected. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 71 cents to $81.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It fell $1.97 a barrel on Wednesday. The slide in energy prices in the past two weeks has raised doubts about the strength of the global economy but also offered some upside in Asia, where many countries rely heavily on imported fuel.
CURRENCIES, BONDS: The dollar was little changed against the euro, trading at $1.2657. The dollar climbed to 107.91 yen from 107.16 yen. U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.26 percent.