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Dow leads recovery
Blue chips rise, nudge broader market higher at end of choppy session;GM, Altria among gainers.
October 17, 2005: 5:50 PM EDT
By Alexandra Twin, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Blue chips led the broader market higher Monday at the end of a choppy session as investors welcomed General Motors' cost-cutting deal with its union and other encouraging corporate news.

Nasdaq and S&P futures pointed to a flat open for stocks Tuesday when fair value is taken into account.

The Dow Jones industrial average (up 60.76 to 10,348.10, Charts) rose around 0.6 percent, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 (up 3.53 to 1,190.10, Charts) index added 0.3 percent.

The Nasdaq composite (up 5.47 to 2,070.30, Charts) added close to 0.3 percent.

Treasury prices edged lower, raising the corresponding yields. The dollar gained versus the euro and yen.

After the close, IBM (Research) reported quarterly earnings that rose from a year ago and topped forecasts on revenue that fell from a year ago and missed forecasts.

Also after the close, chip gear maker Novellus Systems (Research) reported lower quarterly earnings that fell from a year earlier, reflecting an industry-wide slump.

Tuesday brings earnings from 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, United Technologies and Wells Fargo, among others.

The read on producer prices is also due Tuesday and is likely to set the tone for trading in the session.

Stocks spent most of Monday's session in mixed territory, with blue chips managing gains and the broader market struggling. But a late-session buying surge lifted the overall market, with financials, oil stocks and various other blue chips participating. Internet shares were the most buoyant on the Nasdaq.

Shares of General Motors (up $2.11 to $30.09, Research) rallied 7.5 percent after the company said it reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers to cut health care costs. The savings should be roughly $1 billion a year after taxes.

Separately, the automaker is reportedly considering selling a stake in GMAC, its finance unit. The upbeat news overshadowed the company's worse-than-expected quarterly loss.

Fellow Dow component Altria (up $4.30 to $74.96, Research) jumped just over 6 percent on news that the Supreme Court won't hear a government appeal to reinstate a potential $280 billion penalty against cigarette makers, good news for Altria's Philip Morris unit.

This week the third-quarter earnings reporting period kicks in to overdrive. Roughly one-quarter of the S&P 500 reports results will come this week.

The earnings period is probably going to be reasonably positive, even though expectations are higher, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Trust.

"But the key here is really going to be guidance," Ablin added. "Everyone is looking for signs of the rolling over of profit growth, although not as much as the Fed or higher energy prices might indicate."

What moved?

Although Alcoa and GM were responsible for most of the rise on the Dow, there were a few other gainers, too, including Alcoa (up $0.23 to $23.20, Research) and American International Group (up $0.66 to $63.10, Research), 3M (up $1.75 to $72.47, Research) and McDonald's (up $0.38 to $32.70, Research).

Dow decliners included Johnson & Johnson (down $0.70 to $63.00, Research), United Technologies (down $0.52 to $51.11, Research) and Verizon Communications (down $0.50 to $29.40, Research).

Citigroup (down $0.23 to $44.81, Research) shares initially gained after the financial leader reported higher-than-expected earnings that rose from a year earlier. But gains soon fizzled, with investors taking a sell-the-news approach.

A number of other financial stocks gained, including Goldman Sachs (up $2.50 to $117.05, Research) and Lehman Bros. (up $2.14 to $110.45, Research)

Discount broker Charles Schwab (up $0.21 to $13.34, Research) rose after the company reported a higher-than-expected profit, versus a loss a year ago.

Nortel Networks (up $0.18 to $3.48, Research) jumped in active New York Stock Exchange trading after announcing a new president and CEO.

U.S. light crude oil for November delivery rose $1.73 to settle at $64.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

That gave a boost to oil stocks, with the Amex Oil (up 14.01 to 981.24, Charts) index adding 1.5 percent.

Market breadth was mixed. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers by a narrow margin on volume of 1.52 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, decliners topped advancers by a small margin on volume of 1.29 billion shares.

The major gauges slipped last week and have fallen for four of the last five weeks amid worries about inflation and higher interest rates -- worries that are still clearly in place for many investors.

The morning's lone economic report offered a discouraging take on the manufacturing sector. The NY Empire State index, a regional read on manufacturing fell to 12.1 in October from 17.0 in September. Economists surveyed by thought it would rise to 19.0.

Treasury prices slipped, raising the yield on the 10-year note to 4.49 percent from 4.48 percent late Friday. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The dollar rose versus the euro and yen.

COMEX gold rose $4.80 to settle at $476.60 an ounce.  Top of page

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