Wall St opens higher after McDonald's results, job data

Wall St opens higher after McDonald's results, job data
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BENGALURU (Oct 22): Wall Street opened higher on Thursday after strong results from McDonald's and eBay lifted sentiments and jobless claims data supported evidence of a healthy labor market.

Shares of Dow component McDonald's soared 7.5% to US$110.18, after its quarterly earnings and revenue beat estimates as demand recovered in China. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Dow.

Dow Chemicals rose 5.6% to US$50.11, while Southwest Airlines rose 5.9% to US$43.47, after the companies reported strong results.

At 9:52 a.m. ET (1352 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 153.93 points or 0.9% at 17,322.54, the S&P 500 was up 19.63 points or 0.97% at 2,038.57, and the Nasdaq composite index was up 55.21 points or 1.14% at 4,895.33.

Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were up, with the materials sector's 1.8% rise leading the advancers. Dow Chemicals provided the biggest boost to the materials sector.

Technology majors Microsoft, Alphabet, AT&T and Amazon are due to report after the close.

"I think expectations are pretty low for everybody and that's probably why you're seeing some beats here," said Tom Cassidy, chief investment officer at Girard Partners.

Cassidy said the biggest factor for investors scrutinizing the reports would be revenue, which has been hurt by a slowing global economy and a stronger dollar.

The dollar index inched up, after the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged. The index has risen roughly 5% this year.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank could extend its stimulus program beyond 2016, as part of its efforts to boost euro-zone growth and bring inflation closer to its target of close to 2%.

EBay rose 10% to US$26.62 and Texas Instruments was up 9.5% at US$56.85, after they reported better-than-expected third-quarter results late on Wednesday.

Caterpillar fell 0.9% to US$69.25 and 3M fell 1% to US$151.33, after the companies missed revenue estimates.

Data showed U.S. unemployment benefits claims increased 3,000 to 259,000 last week, below the 265,000 expected.

Existing home sales are expected to have grown 1.4% to an annual rate of 5.38 million units in September. The data is due at 10:00 a.m.

The Federal Reserve, which kept interest rates unchanged at near-zero levels at a September meeting, has said it will wait for signs of global economic resilience before pulling the trigger.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals continued its slide for a second day, falling 13.6% to US$102.67.

Community Health Systems sank 29% to US$28.82, after it posted disappointing outlook. Other hospital operators Lifepoint, HCA Holdings and Tenet Healthcare were also down 6% to 15%.

American Express fell 5.9% to US$72.03, after its quarterly profit missed estimates.

Kinder Morgan slid 4.9% to US$29.90, after the pipeline company said its dividend payout would slow next year.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,291 to 541. On the Nasdaq, 1,645 issues rose and 714 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 23 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 25 new highs and 31 new lows.