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Stocks Mostly Higher on Earnings       04/24 12:34

   Strong earnings from a number of U.S. companies including Apple and 
Caterpillar hadstocks moving mostly higher Thursday afternoon. 3M was among 
those whose results disappointed investors.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Strong earnings from a number of U.S. companies including 
Apple and Caterpillar hadstocks moving mostly higher Thursday afternoon. 3M was 
among those whose results disappointed investors.

   The gains were modest as investors kept a close watch on Ukraine, where 
escalating tensions with Russia made some investors nervous.

   KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose seven points, or 0.4 
percent, to 1,882 as of 1 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 
22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,523. The Nasdaq composite rose 30 points, or 
0.7 percent, to 4,152. All three indexes were modestly lower earlier in the day.

   APPLE SOARS: Apple rose $42.48, or 8 percent, to $567.28. The company 
reported a profit late Wednesday of $10.2 billion, or $11.62 a share, beating 
forecasts. Apple also announced it would increase its share buyback program 
from $60 billion to $90 billion, raise its quarterly dividend, and split its 
stock seven-for-one.

   BIG TRUCKS, BIG PROFITS: Dow member Caterpillar rose $1.89, or 2 percent, to 
$105.30. The construction equipment manufacturer said its quarterly earnings 
rose 5 percent from a year ago. Caterpillar also raised is 2014 profit 
forecast. The company earned an adjusted profit of $1.61 a share, well ahead of 
the $1.21 per share expected by analysts.

   UKRAINE: Russian officials said they would hold new military exercises along 
the Ukrainian border, hours after Ukrainian troops killed at least two 
pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine. In St. Petersburg, Russian President 
Vladimir Putin described the Ukrainian troop attack as a "punitive operation" 
and threatened Kiev with unspecified consequences. The Russia-Ukraine conflict 
has been relatively quiet for the last couple of weeks, so the recent increase 
in tensions has made some investors nervous.

   Tom di Galoma, who runs fixed-income trading for ED&F Man Capital, said the 
Ukraine-Russia conflict was sending some investors into safer assets, such as 
U.S. Treasurys and gold. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 2.70 
percent, up slightly from yesterday. Gold rose $4.80, or 0.4 percent, to 
$1.289.40 after being as low as $1,270 an ounce earlier this morning.

   "One day we think there's a resolution, and the next the situation out of 
Ukraine and Russia turns a little alarming," said Jonathan Corpina, a floor 
trader at the New York Stock Exchange with Meridian Equity Partners.

   'APPREHENSIVE': The S&P 500 has risen seven out of the last eight days, but 
traders remain nervous, Corpina said. "Everyone is a little apprehensive as we 
move higher, waiting for the next shoe to drop that's going to make the market 
head lower," he said. "The market isn't a healthy mentality at the moment."

   NEED MORE POST-ITS: Another Dow member, 3M, wasn't as fortunate in the first 
quarter as Caterpillar was. The maker of industrial coatings and Post-it notes 
fell $1.49, or 1 percent, to $136.50 after the company's results missed 
analysts' expectations. The Minnesota-based conglomerate earned $1.79 a share, 
a penny shy of forecasts. Revenue also came in short of expectations.

   ANOTHER HEALTH INDUSTRY DEAL: Zimmer Holdings soared $10.61, or 12 percent, 
to $102.07 after announcing it would buy the privately held orthopedic device 
company Biomet for $13.35 billion in cash andstock. Biomet was taken private in 
2007 by a group of private equity companies, and was looking to go public later 
this year.

   ECONOMIC DATA: Investors were also working through another batch of economic 
reports. Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 2.6 
percent, adding to the 2.1 percent rise in February. The back-to-back gains 
followed two big declines in December and January, which had raised concerns 
about possible weakness in manufacturing, The earlier declines, however, were 
likely tied to bad winter weather.

   On the jobs front, the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits 
jumped 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 last week, though the gain 
likely reflected temporary layoffs in the week before Easter.


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