NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are climbing Thursday as transportation companies jump following solid earnings from railroad operator CSX, while paint and coatings maker Sherwin-Williams sends companies that make and sell basic materials higher. Banks are also gaining ground after more of them report solid earnings and as bond yields rise, which allows banks to charge higher interest rates on loans.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index advanced 17 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,355 as of 12:35 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 166 points, or 0.8 percent, to 20,570. The Nasdaq composite gained 51 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,914, near its all-time closing high. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 14 points, or 1 percent, to 1,381.
Stocks have bounced around for more than a week. They started higher Wednesday morning, but wound up mostly lower as investors were disappointed by an afternoon report from the Federal Reserve that showed only modest growth in wages. Investors have been hoping that higher wage growth will lead to more spending and economic expansion.
TRAIN KEPT A ROLLING: Railroad company CSX announced a bigger profit and more revenue than Wall Street expected in the first quarter. CSX also said restructuring and spending cuts will increase its profit by about 25 percent this year. The company is cutting jobs and reorganizing after it hired Hunter Harrison, former head of Canadian Pacific, as its new CEO last month. The company also said it will buy back more stock and raise its dividend. CSX stock jumped $43.19, or 6.8 percent, to $50.12.
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Other railroads also rose: Norfolk Southern gained 3.4 percent and Union Pacific rose 2.1 percent. That translated into big gains for transportation companies like trucking companies and airlines. Industrial companies were among the top performers Thursday.
PRETTY COLORS: Sherwin-Williams raised its profit guidance for the year as paint sales jumped and prices increased. The stock added $11.86, or 3.8 percent, to $323.40. That helped basic materials companies. So did steel maker Nucor, which rose 2.7 percent after its first-quarter results were stronger than expected.
THE QUOTE: It’s still early in this round of company earnings reports, but experts and investors are encouraged that companies are feeling good about the economy.
“The major takeaway so far to earnings season is the CEOs are still saying we’re poised for growth,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. “Last quarter was sort of the first time we heard this theme.”
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