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US: Stocks mixed as GM rises, Caterpillar falls


[NEW YORK] US stocks were mixed in opening trade on Thursday following a torrent of mostly solid earnings reports from General Motors, United Airlines and others.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,844.33, down 6.71 points (0.04 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 added 1.76 (0.08 per cent) at 2,115.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 7.05 (0.15 per cent) at 4,630.29.

Strong earnings results pushed up United Continental, parent of United Airlines, by 4.5 per cent, and GM, which plowed 6.5 higher after reporting that second-quarter earnings quadrupled to US$1.1 billion on solid sales in the US and China.

However, heavy equipment maker Caterpillar fell 2.2 per cent after profit fell to US$710 million in the April-June quarter, down 29 per cent from a year ago, and the company lowered its 2015 sales forecast.

"The earnings results overall are once again coming in better than analysts' marked-down expectations in front of the reports," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"That doesn't make the overall results good in a true sense. It just makes them better than feared."