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US: Stocks jump on Apple earnings, talk of ECB stimulus


[NEW YORK] US stocks barreled higher on Tuesday, propelled by talk of broader monetary stimulus in Europe and a strong Apple earnings report that helped lift the Nasdaq by more than 100 points.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 215.14 points (1.31 per cent) to 16,614.81.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 37.27 (1.96 per cent) to 1,941.28, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 103.40 (2.40 per cent) to 4,419.48.

Apple, the biggest US company by market capitalisation, rose 2.7 per cent as fourth-quarter profits jumped 13 per cent to US$8.5 billion on strong iPhone sales.

US stocks also gained momentum from speculation that the European Central Bank could widen its bond-buying initiatives to corporate bonds. The chatter lifted France's CAC 40 and other European bourses by more than 2.0 per cent.

The current norm in markets is for big swings in the indices, said Michael James of Wedbush Securities.

"The volatility we've had is only going to perpetuate more volatility," he said.

Besides Apple, James cited strong earnings from Texas Instruments as a catalyst for tech share gains.

The semiconductor manufacturer shot up 5.3 per cent after third-quarter earnings rose 31.3 per cent to US$826 million, besting expectations.

Coca-Cola shares plunged 6.0 per cent as net income for the third quarter dropped 13.6 per cent to US$2.12 billion. Results were weighted down by slower economic growth and volatile currencies.

McDonald's fell 0.6 per cent on earnings that tumbled 30 per cent to US$1.07 billion in part due to a food-safety scandal in China and amid intense competition in the United States.

Chipotle Mexican Grill dropped 7.0 per cent despite notching a 57 per cent gain in third-quarter net income to US$130.8 million. Analysts said the restaurant chain's earnings growth is not sustainable.

Motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson soared 7.3 per cent on better sales in both the US and overseas. Third quarter earnings hit 69 cents per share, besting analyst expectations by nine cents.

Other companies to report earnings included Kimberly-Clark (+3.0 per cent), Lockheed Martin (-1.7 per cent), Travelers (+1.1 per cent), United Technologies (+0.5 per cent), Verizon Communications (+0.4 per cent) and Whirlpool (+1.3 percent).

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.21 per cent from 2.18 per cent Monday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.98 per cent from 2.96 per cent. AFP