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Business Earnings Pull Stocks Higher   04/25 09:26

   Profits are climbing for companies, and so are their stock prices.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Profits are climbing for companies, and so are their stock 

   More big businesses joined the earnings parade Tuesday, saying they earned 
even more in the first three months of the year than analysts were expecting, 
including Caterpillar and McDonald's. The gains put U.S. indexes on track to 
add to their big gains from Monday.

   KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15 points, or 0.6 
percent, to 2,389 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time.

   The Dow Jones industrial average climbed even more due to the big gains for 
Caterpillar and McDonald's, which are both among the 30 stocks in the average. 
The Dow rose 230 points, or 1.1 percent, to 20,994. The Nasdaq composite rose 
35, or 0.6 percent, to 6,019, its first move above 6,000 points.

   PROFITS PILING HIGHER: After struggling for years with a slow global economy 
and weak oil prices, big U.S. businesses are in the midst of reporting their 
best quarter of profit growth in years, analysts say.

   Companies in the S&P 500 are on track to report overall growth of 10.4 
percent in first-quarter earnings per share, according to S&P Global Market 
Intelligence. This is a particularly busy week, and more than a third of the 
companies in the S&P 500 are set to unveil their first-quarter results.

   CATERPILLAR CRUSHES: The machinery maker soared $6.60, or 6.8 percent, to 
$103.41 after reporting stronger revenue and profits for the first quarter than 
analysts expected. It also raised its forecast for full-year results. The big 
gain means its stock has recovered from losses incurred last month on worries 
about an Internal Revenue Service challenge of its taxes. Caterpillar has 
denied it broke any federal tax laws.

   WELL DONE: McDonald's jumped $4.46, or 3.3 percent, to $138.69 after 
likewise surprising investors with better-than-expected results. New items on 
its menu helped it to drive sales growth at its U.S. restaurants.

   HEALTHY: Biogen climbed $13.82, or 5 percent, to $290.68 after reporting 
stronger revenue and earnings than analysts expected.

   OVERSEAS MARKETS: Global indexes added to big gains they made on Monday, 
when markets soared after results from the first round of France's presidential 
election raised expectations that the European Union and the euro currency will 
remain intact.

   In Europe, France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX added 0.1 percent 
and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index 
climbed 1.1 percent, South Korea's Kospi gained 1.1 percent and the Hang Seng 
in Honk Kong jumped 1.3 percent.

   COMMODITIES: The price of gold fell $8.70 to $1,268.80 per ounce, silver 
dropped 21 cents to $17.65 per ounce and copper added 2 cents to $2.57 per 

   Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 17 cents to $49.06 per barrel. Brent crude, 
which is used to price international oils, dipped a penny to $51.59 per barrel. 
Natural gas fell 2 cents to $3.14 per 1,000 cubic feet.

   CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.0903 from $1.0858 late Monday. The dollar 
rose to 110.76 Japanese yen from 109.79, and the British pound rose to $1.2811 
from $1.2789.

   BOND YIELDS: Interest rates continued to climb from the low they set in the 
middle of the month.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.30 percent from 2.27 percent 
late Monday. It was at 2.17 percent a week ago.


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