* China data points to strengthening recovery
* Boeing climbs after earnings, outlook
* Facebook surges after results
* Dow Chemical to cut jobs
* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.12 pct, Nasdaq 0.25 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Oct 24 U.S. stock edged higher on
Wednesday after data from China and Boeing provided temporary
relief to a slumping market, following a retreat Tuesday when
the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its biggest drop in
The S&P 500 has dropped more than 3 percent over the last
four sessions, as weak earnings outlooks and top-line revenue
misses by large multinational companies reignited worries about
a slowing global economy.
The China HSBC Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index
(PMI) showed growth shrank for a 12th straight month in October,
but output was at a three-month high of 49.1 and order books at
their most robust since April, signaling a strengthening
Boeing Co shares climbed 1.7 percent to $74.08, one
of the top gainers on the Dow, after the commercial jet and
defense giant reported earnings and raised its full-year 2012
That optimistic outlook bucked a recent trend by companies
with a large global footprint - including DuPont, United
Technologies Corp and 3M Co - of lowering their
"At the end of the day - we've been through this for three
years - the short term bumps that Bernanke is providing is just
a sugar high, and fundamentals matter," said Seth Setrakian,
partner and co-head of U.S. equities at First New York
Securities in New York.
"He's probably prevented it from being worse but stocks are
based on valuation, based on their earnings and projected future
business and the economy is slowing and prices are reflecting
A total of 43 S&P 500 companies are due to report earnings
Wednesday, including Citrix Systems Inc, F5 Networks
Inc and Symantec Corp after the close.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 26.11 points,
or 0.20 percent, at 13,128.64. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
added 1.63 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,414.74. The
Nasdaq Composite Index gained 7.59 points, or 0.25
percent, at 2,998.06.
AT&T Inc posted third-quarter revenue that was below
analysts' expectations, but its earnings increased from a year
earlier. Shares lost 1.1 percent to $34.62.
Dow Chemical Co, the largest chemical maker in the
United States, said Tuesday it would cut 5 percent of its
workforce and shut 20 plants to counter a slowing global
economy. Its shares advanced 5 percent to $29.99.
Facebook Inc surged 22.2 percent to $23.82 after the
social networking company grew mobile advertising revenue
several times in the third quarter, a much quicker pace than
Healthcare stocks rose, lifted by a 14.7 percent jump in
Molina Healthcare Inc after the company posted
third-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded analysts'
expectations. The Morgan Stanley healthcare payor index
gained 1.5 percent.
But the Dow Jones Transportation average lost 1.1
percent in the wake of results from Norfolk Southern Corp
, which said quarterly profit fell on lower shipments of
coal and merchandise. Its shares slumped 5.7 percent to $62.23.
Shares of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc fell 2.6 percent
According to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday, of the
161 companies in the S&P 500 that have posted earnings, 60
percent have beat analysts' estimates. Earnings are expected to
decline 2.2 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Financial information firm Markit said its U.S. "flash," or
preliminary, Purchasing Managers Index for the manufacturing
sector edged up to 51.3 this month from 51.1 in September, but
slow growth and economic uncertainty suggested the sector's
recent struggles may persist over the final months of 2012.
Data on the housing market showed new U.S. single-family
home sales surged in September to their highest level in nearly
2-1/2 years, further evidence the housing market recovery is
gaining steam, while house prices rose 0.7 percent on a
seasonally adjusted basis from July to August.
The Federal Open Market Committee will conclude the second
day of a two-day meeting on Wednesday. Analysts and primary
dealers expect the FOMC to leave fed funds rate in the current
0.0 percent to 0.25 percent range.