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H&W in the Media

Wall St edges up after consumer sentiment data

U.S. stocks drifted higher after better-than-expected consumer sentiment data and as investors assessed mixed earnings from industrial heavyweights GE and Honeywell.

GE’s shares rose as much as 3.4 percent to $28.99 – their highest since the financial crisis – after reporting better-than-expected earnings.

But Honeywell fell 2.5 percent to $96.05 even though it also beat profit estimates.

Industrial tool maker Grainger slumped 6.6 percent to $207.13. Quanta Services, an industrial services provider, sank 26 percent to $19.29 after disappointing results.

“Today’s earnings are mixed. They don’t paint a strong one-directional picture of improvement or deterioration,” said Doug Burtnick, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management.

S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 3.9 percent fall in third-quarter profit, the biggest decline in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary index on consumer sentiment for October came in at 92.1, ahead of the 89 forecast.

The data helped the S&P Consumer staples sector lead the advancers with a nearly 1 percent increase. Within the index, Philip Morris and Pepsi provided the biggest boost.

At 11:32 a.m. ET (1532 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.44 points, or 0.21 percent, at 17,177.19, the S&P 500 was up 3.91 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,027.77 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 6.61 points, or 0.14 percent, at 4,876.71.

In other U.S. data, industrial production in September shrank for the second month in a row, but was in line with expectations.

“We’re seeing enough signs that the economy is getting on an at least a stable enough ground where the Fed can feel comfortable embarking upon a rate hiking program that will likely be very long and gradual,” said Kevin Mahn, Chief Investment Officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management.

The Fed, which kept rates at near-zero levels at its September meeting, is waiting for signs of stabilizing inflation and sustained economic recovery before it pulls the trigger.

Click here to read the entire article on Reuters.com.