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U.S. stocks advanced, following yesterday’s decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, amid better-than-estimated earnings at companies from AT&T Inc. to 3M Co. and as data indicated the housing market is stabilizing.
Economic optimism helped fuel gains today as new home sales data indicated that cheaper borrowing costs are helping stabilize the real estate market. Federal Open Market Committee members begin a two-day meeting today and policy makers tomorrow will probably repeat their plan to keep the benchmark interest rate low at least through late 2014, economists say.
DOW 13,008.50 +81.28 0.63%, S&P 500 1,370.49 +3.55 0.26%, NASDAQ 2,960.35 -10.10 -0.34%
AT&T (T) added 3.5 percent to $31.68. Earnings beat estimates on lower smartphone upgrade costs and an increase in wireless data sales related to Apple’s iPad. AT&T activated 4.3 million iPhones, up from 3.6 million a year earlier and down from a record 7.6 million in the fourth quarter.
3M (MMM) increased 2 percent to $88.84. The U.S. market drove sales at the industrial and transportation unit, the largest division at 3M. Operating profit slumped 29 percent at the display and graphics business, which serves the manufacturers of liquid crystal display televisions with optical films.
IBM (IBM) gained 1.2 percent to $201.03. The quarterly payout will rise 10 cents to 85 cents a share, Armonk, New York-based IBM said today in a statement before a shareholder meeting in North Charleston, South Carolina. IBM had $5.7 billion remaining from a previous buyback plan, bringing the total available for repurchases to $12.7 billion.
Netflix Inc. tumbled 14 percent to $87.90. The world’s largest video-subscription service projected a slowdown in growth of U.S. streaming customers.
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