published on October 24, 2017 - 1:35 PM
Written by Edward Smith

(AP) — U.S. stocks are rising Tuesday as construction equipment maker Caterpillar and Post-it note maker 3M lead a rally in industrial companies, and the Dow Jones industrial average is on track for another record close.

Banks are climbing along with interest rates and technology companies are also advancing. Steep losses for drugmakers Biogen and Eli Lilly and health insurer Centene are pulling health care companies lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,568 as of 3:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 173 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,447. Caterpillar and 3M were responsible for almost all of that, as they rose by a combined 152 Dow points. The Nasdaq composite climbed 13 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,600. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,502.

INDUSTRIAL POWER: Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar continued to rally after it raised its profit forecast. The company said construction equipment revenue jumped in the third quarter and demand from China is strong, while it’s getting a lot of business from the oil and gas markets in North America. Its stock gained $7.06, or 5.4 percent, to $138.74, and it’s up 50 percent in 2017. 3M expects a bigger profit and better sales after demand for electronics and energy products rose, and it added $15.55, or 7 percent, to $237.10.

Caterpillar and 3M are two of the biggest winners on the 30-company Dow average this year. The top gainer is aerospace company Boeing, which rose $3.58, or 1.4 percent, to $265.90, giving it a 71-percent jump since the start of the year.

Tool maker Stanley Black & Decker also raised its profit projection and climbed $7.35, or 4.6 percent, to $165.54.

THE QUOTE: UBS analyst Steven Fisher said he thinks companies that make construction and mining equipment and trucks are benefiting from gains in metals and oil prices over the last year to year-and-a-half.

“There’s now a catch-up to not only meet the demand but also replenish inventories,” he said. That delayed reaction helped Caterpillar in the third quarter and he said investors have high expectations for many other machinery makers.

BONDS: Bond prices continued to fall. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.41 percent from 2.37 percent. That helped banks, as higher interest rates boost their profits on lending. Bank of America gained 51 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $27.67 and JPMorgan Chase rose $1.37, or 1.4 percent, to $100.71.

HEALTH WOES: Health care companies took losses. Drugmaker Biogen fell $12.90, or 3.9 percent, to $315.65 as sales of its multiple sclerosis drugs Tecfidera and Tysabri disappointed analysts. Eli Lilly sank $2.16, or 2.5 percent, to $85.03. The company had a solid third quarter, but said diabetes drug prices are still under pressure. Lilly also said it may sell its Elanco animal health unit. That business had been an important part of Lilly’s strategy as important older drugs like Zyprexa and Cymbalta lost patent protection.

Medicaid program administrator Centene shed $4.65, or 4.7 percent, to $93.34.

DOWN THE DRAIN: Appliance maker Whirlpool had a weak quarter as costs were high and the company struggled to integrate European businesses it’s bought over the last few years. Whirlpool also slashed its profit forecast for the year. Whirlpool lost $20.34, or 11.1 percent, to $162.17.

Meanwhile Whirlpool’s ties to Sears are also ending after more than 100 years. Sears says it is no longer selling Maytag appliances or other Whirlpool products at its stores, while Whirlpool said it told Sears months ago that it would stop supplying branded products for Sears to sell because the companies couldn’t agree on terms. Sears lost 58 cents, or 8.8 percent, to $5.98.

BOUNCING BACK: Technology companies recovered from Monday’s losses.

Oracle rose 65 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $49.96 and specialty glass maker Corning jumped $2.15, or 7.2 percent, to $32.16 after its third-quarter report surpassed what Wall Street expected. Video game maker Activision Blizzard added $1.31, or 2.1 percent, to $62.77.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 57 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.47 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 96 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $58.33 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $1.72 a gallon. Heating oil added 3 cents to $1.82 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 2 cents to $2.97 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold fell $2.60 to $1,278.30 an ounce. Silver lost 11 cents to $16.97 an ounce. Copper gained 1 cent to $3.20 a pound.

CURRENCY: The dollar edged down to 113.58 yen from 113.73 yen. The euro rose to $1.1788 from $1.1738.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent and the French CAC-40 gained 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 in London finish little changed. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose for the 16th day in a row, which extended a post-World War II record. The index added 0.5 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.5 percent and Seoul’s Kospi was unchanged.

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