Stocks Overcome Earnings Fears to Close Higher

The major averages end choppy sessions on a high note.
Author:
Publish date:

Updated from 2:53 p.m. EDT

Stocks closed higher as a late buying surge overcame concerns about corporate earnings and the latest terrorism and anthrax scares.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

finished up 36.61 points, or 0.4%, to 9384.23. The

Nasdaq

was up 25.76, or 1.5%, to 1722.07, and the

S&P 500

climbed 7.57 points, or 0.7%, to 1097.55.

Overseas, London's FTSE 100 closed up 0.3% at 5082, while Germany's Xetra DAX gained 1.3% to 4609. Japan's Nikkei index closed up 1.8% to 10,638, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2% to 10,148.

Twelve staff members of the London Stock Exchange were taken to a hospital for tests after a suspicious package was received, but no one showed symptoms of anthrax, officials told

Reuters

.

On the earnings front,

Enron

(ENE)

said it lost $618 million, or 84 cents a share, in the third quarter, including charges of $1.11 a share. Before the items, the company earned 43 cents a share, which was in line with estimates. Enron rose 54 cents, or 1.6%, to $33.71.

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

beat analysts' expectations by a penny as third-quarter earnings rose about 16%. J&J gained 93 cents, or 1.7%, to $56.65.

United Technologies

announced plans to cut 5,000 workers. The company also said its third-quarter profits were in line with analysts' expectations. UTX traded up 87 cents, or 1.6%, to $53.89.

Elsewhere,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

British Telecom

(BTY)

said they would take a combined $7 billion in charges to dissolve their Concert long-distance venture. About 2,300 jobs will be lost. AT&T shed 18 cents, or 0.9%, at $19.02, and British Telecom fell 0.7% to $48.26. Ahead of its earnings report,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

slipped 0.4% to $101.60.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, which also posts earnings after the bell, rose 1.8% to $24.82.

On top of earnings, a government report on factory output revealed the worst period of industrial contraction since the end of World War II. Industrial production fell 1% in September, slightly below economists' expectations. Capacity utilization fell to 75.5%, compared with a consensus estimate of 75.4%.

Around 4 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note traded up 7/32 at 103 12/32 to yield 4.57%.