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US: Strong McDonald's, Caterpillar profits boost Dow

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[NEW YORK] The Dow pushed back into record territory early Tuesday following strong earnings from several blue-chip companies, including Caterpillar and McDonald's.

Caterpillar surged 6.6 per cent after reporting that third-quarter profits more than tripled to US$1.1 billion and lifting its profit and sales forecast.

McDonald's jumped 2.5 per cent after reporting that third-quarter profits rose by nearly 50 per cent to US$1.9 billion amid comparable sales gains in several key regions.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 23,420.98, up 0.6 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent at 2,566.92, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost a hair at 6,585.64.

Two other Dow components rose after results: 3M, which gained 4.7 per cent; and United Technologies, which advanced 1.3 per cent.

US stocks have pushed to numerous records over the last few weeks amid expectations for solid third-quarter earnings and hopes that President Donald Trump's tax cuts will win passage.

But stocks had closed lower on Monday, retreating from records, with analysts citing skepticism that earnings will justify today's high valuations.

Among other companies reporting, Whirlpool tumbled 10.1 per cent after reporting earnings and revenues that lagged analyst expectations. Chief executive Marc Bitzer said profit margins were impacted by raw materials cost inflation and "slow progress on our European integration," among other factors.