US stocks open higher; GE, Morgan Stanley gain


ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

U.S. stocks opened higher Friday as investors weighed the latest corporate earnings news and data showing home construction picked up last month. General Electric and Morgan Stanley were among the early gainers after each reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 216 points, or about 1.3 percent, to 16,333 as of 10:12 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 21 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,884. The Nasdaq composite added 52 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,270. The Dow is down 1.5 percent for the year, while the S&P 500 is up 2.1 percent. The Nasdaq is up 2.2 percent for the year.

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VOLATILITY BREATHER? Investors have been riding wild market swings much of the week. The increased volatility reflects heightened concerns about weaker growth in Europe and its implications on corporate profits, as well as plunging oil prices and many geopolitical uncertainties, from conflicts in Syria and Iraq to the unknown impact of the Ebola virus outbreak.

HARD HAT AREA: The Commerce Department reported that construction firms broke ground on more apartment complexes in September, pushing up the pace of U.S. homebuilding up 6.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.017 million homes. Apartment construction has surged 30.3 percent over the past 12 months.

TRADING BOOST: Morgan Stanley reported that its net income nearly doubled in the third quarter, helped by strength in its institutional securities and wealth management divisions. The investment bank’s results topped Wall Street expectations. Morgan Stanley rose $1.12, or 3.4 percent, to $33.62.

BEATING THE STREET: General Electric’s shares rose 3.6 percent after the company reported better-than-anticipated third-quarter profit, citing improved performance from its aviation and oil and gas divisions. The stock rose 86 cents to $25.10.

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SECTOR MONITOR: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, with energy stocks posting the biggest increase at 2.2 percent. Utilities stocks declined. Textron led all companies in the S&P 500, adding $2.81, or 8.3 percent, to $36.48. Urban Outfitters declined the most. The retailer slid $5.02, or 14.7 percent, to $29.48.

OVERSEAS MARKETS: After sharp falls earlier this week, European markets rose, continuing a pattern of highly volatile trading. France’s CAC 40 rose 2.2 percent, while Germany’s DAX jumped 2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.3 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank 1.4 percent. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher and India’s Sensex was up 0.4 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.7 percent.

BONDS AND OIL: U.S. Treasury yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.21 percent from 2.15 percent late Thursday. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 80 cents to $83.52 a barrel in New York.