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US: Stocks open higher


[NEW YORK] US stocks on Thursday rose decisively in early trade following a batch of mostly solid earnings reports from Dow members Caterpillar, 3M and others.

About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 16,648.63, up 187.31 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 17.88 to 1,944.99, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 46.08 to 4,428.93.

Industrial heavyweight Caterpillar jumped 4.4 per cent after third-quarter net income rose eight per cent to US$1.02 billion as company cost-cutting measures and restructuring offset sluggish economic conditions. Earnings of US$1.63 per share blew by the consensus estimate of US$1.36.

3M's profits gained six per cent to US$1.3 billion as the industrial and consumer materials company notched earnings per share of US$1.98, two cents above analyst estimates. Shares soared 5.3 per cent.

General Motors gained 1.3 percent as third-quarter earnings per share of 97 cents bested expectations by two cents. Net income fell 14.3 per cent to US$1.47 billion on weak performance in Europe and South America.

Dow member AT&T fell 2.4 per cent after reporting a 21 per cent drop in third-quarter earnings to US$3 billion in results that fell short of analyst expectations.

American Airlines gained 1.1 percent higher on third-quarter earnings of $1.66 per share, three cents above estimates. United Airlines bested expectations by seven cents at US$2.75 per share, but shares fell 2.5 per cent.