FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014...
U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, lifting the Dow industrials back into positive terrain for the year, as heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar boosted its profit outlook and an unexpected increase in euro-zone manufacturing eased worries about the global economy. But equities pared gains in late trading as New York City's Bellevue Hospital said it was testing a doctor who recently returned from West Africa for Ebola after he exhibited some symptoms consistent with the virus. He was the latest of many patients to have been tested for Ebola-like symptoms in the city in recent weeks; all of the prior tests were negative.
"You would think that if Nigeria could contain it, then so could we, but this is a very manic-depressive market that we're in," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, who instead offered the view that the market retreated after the S&P 500 hit technical resistance at its 100-day moving average of 1,961.50. "I guess we rolled over during it. I don't know why we were up 35 points to begin with," said Boockvar.
Investors fled perceived safe-havens including U.S. Treasury notes and gold, buying assets viewed as riskier as corporate earnings and projections for the future, especially from multinationals, eased worries about the global economy. Caterpillar rallied after reporting a quarterly profit that soared past estimates; 3M jumped after the diversified manufacturer posted higher quarterly profit, and General Motors also tallied a better-than-expected profit in the third quarter. "It's earnings. When we started the day the Dow was still down on the year, then you saw Caterpillar and GM come out with good news," said Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist, Everbank Wealth Management, referring to the Dow's return to the black for 2014.
Retreating from session highs that had it up 306.20 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 1.3 percent, with Caterpillar, 3M and oil-producer Chevron leading blue-chip gains.
The S&P 500 advanced 1.2 percent, with industrials and energy leading gains among its 10 main sectors and telecommunications and consumer staples the laggards. The Nasdaq.rallied 1.6 percent. For every share falling, roughly three gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 542 million shares traded by 3:25 p.m. Eastern. Composite volume neared 3 billion.
The U.S. dollar edged higher against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and dollar-denominated commodities were mixed. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, December gold futures fell $16.60, or 1.3 percent, to $1,228.90 an ounce, and crude-oil futures for December rose $1.30, or 1.6 percent, to $81.85 a barrel.