Caterpillar’s profits give Dow a boost


tocks rose on Thursday after a pledge by European leaders to support debt-laden Greece eased fears of a broader Eurozone crisis and upbeat data from China spurred mining and material stocks.

Data pointing to stabilisation in the US labor market gave the market a further boost, along with a broker upgrade of bellwether 3M, whose stock rose 2.1 per cent.

China, the world’s top base metals consumer, reported a jump in lending and slower inflation, suggesting the economy is on track for growth. Caterpillar, a big mining equipment maker, rose 5.6 per cent to $56.15 and provided the biggest boost to the Dow industrials.

But the biggest driver in the nearly one per cent rise on the day was the European Union pledge to support Greece. Investors saw an EU bid to avert fallout from fiscal troubles in Greece and other European single currency countries like Portugal and Spain.

“They moved everything up on more of a posture by the EU to come up with something creative on Greece as opposed to not knowing what to do,” said Stephen Carl, principal and head of US Equity Trading at the Williams Capital Group in New York.

“It looks like they are putting things in place and the market is reacting favorably just because there is a plan. Let's see how they implement it.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 105.81 points, or 1.05 percent, to 10,144.19. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 10.34 points, or 0.97 percent, to 1,078.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 29.54 points, or 1.38 per cent, at 2,177.41.

Before the bell a government report showed applications for jobless insurance fell more than expected in the latest week, a signal the labor market continues to mend.

Shares of 3M, a diversified manufacturer, rose 2.1 percent to $80.27 after Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded the company to “outperform” from “market-perform,” citing better margins and a higher growth rate.

Among commodity related names, Alcoa jumped 3.2 per cent to $13.58, while U.S. Steel jumped 6 per cent to $47.01 and plan.