U.S. Stocks Climb Again as a Painful Month Comes to a Close


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Stocks are climbing again Wednesday as investors applaud strong quarterly results from companies including Facebook, General Motors and Estee Lauder. Industries that have plunged this month, including technology and internet companies and retailers, all rose.

After a rally a day earlier, the S&P 500 index is now on track for its first two-day gain since late September. The index is still down 6.5 percent in October and is headed for its worst monthly loss since September 2011.

Markets also rose in Europe and Asia.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 42 points, or 1.6 percent, to 2,724 as of 1 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 324 points, or 1.3 percent, to 25,198. The Nasdaq composite jumped 169 points, or 2.4 percent, to 7,331. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 13 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,520.

The plunge in October wiped out a big rally over the previous three months. The third quarter was the stock market’s best in five years.

The last winning streak for the S&P 500 was a three-day string of gains that ended on Sept. 20, the day of its latest record high. That was 28 trading days ago. According to Ryan Detrick of LPL Financial, that’s one of the longest gaps since the Great Depression: The S&P 500 also went 28 days without a winning streak in 1970, 1994 and 2015.

FACEBOOK FACE LIFT: Facebook had a mixed third quarter, but the results appeared to be good enough to satisfy investors. After a 2.9 percent gain Tuesday, the stock rose 3.9 percent to $151.97.

Facebook has been pummeled over the last three months, and is down 30 percent since reaching a record high in late July. In that same month Facebook reported weaker-than-expected user growth and said it’s spending more on security, moderation and product development.

Investors worry that companies like Facebook will be subject to more regulation following several data privacy scandals as well as online election meddling from outside the U.S. Facebook is also facing harsh criticism that its platform is being used to inflame ethnic and religious conflict in Myanmar. On top of all that, high-tech stocks like Facebook have stumbled this month as investors looked for safer, steadier options.

Other high-flying internet and tech stocks did better than Facebook. Netflix jumped 7 percent to $305.84, and Amazon soared 4.7 percent to $1,602. Alphabet gained 4.4 percent to $1,095. Elsewhere, Apple gained 3.1 percent to $219.87.

PUT IT IN DRIVE: General Motors did far better than expected in the third quarter as it raised prices in North America and its China division held up well. While auto sales in the U.S. are slowing and trade tensions between the U.S. and China threaten vehicle sales there, GM’s profit and revenue surpassed Wall Street forecasts. The company also moved to cut costs by offering buyouts to about 18,000 white-collar employees in North America.

The stock jumped 9.3 percent to $36.67. It’s fallen 10.6 percent this year.

JOB SURVEY: U.S. companies added 227,000 jobs in October, according to a survey of private companies by ADP. That healthy gain suggests companies are still finding workers to hire even as the unemployment rate has fallen to a 49-year low. ADP, a payroll processing company, said employers added jobs in manufacturing, retail, and professional services. The government will report its own jobs figures Friday. Analysts think that report, which covers both private companies and governments, will show a gain of 190,000 jobs.

Bond prices dropped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.15 percent from 3.11 percent.

OVERSEAS: Shares of aircraft maker Airbus climbed 4.1 percent after it reported a rise in profits and cosmetics maker L’Oreal’s stock rallied 6.7 percent on upbeat results. The French CAC 40 surged 2.3 percent, and Germany’s DAX gained 1.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.3 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.2 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.6 percent. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.7 percent.

Stock indexes overseas also tumbled in October. The DAX sank 6.5 percent, and the Hang Seng dropped 10.1 percent. Mexico’s Bolsa tumbled 11.8 percent, and the Kospi plunged 13.4 percent.

SPOOKY, SCARY: Stocks have plunged this month as Wall Street was frightened by numerous potential problems including rising interest rates and the U.S.–China trade dispute. Both could impair economic growth and company profits. Investors are that much more nervous because corporate profit growth is already expected to slow in 2019 after strong growth this year, a big portion of which stemmed from the one-time corporate tax cut.

Some of the market’s favorite stocks have taken enormous losses. Amazon has fallen more than 20 percent in October, wiping out around $200 billion in market value. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has skidded 8.8 percent, and it’s on track for its worst month since November 2008.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 0.1 percent to $66.25 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 0.4 percent to $76.24 per barrel in London.

Energy companies have lagged the market as U.S. crude has fallen 9 percent this month.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.93 yen from 112.96 yen. The euro fell to $1.1314 from $1.1342.

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