Stocks are having a huge day on Thursday.
And two of the big winners are super huge, super unsexy blue-chip companies: Caterpillar and 3M.
Caterpillar and 3M, both members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average were both up better than 5% on Thursday after reporting earnings before the market open that topped expectations.
Caterpillar this morning reported adjusted earnings per share of $US1.72, topping expectations for $US1.35 on revenue of $US13.55 billion against expectations for $US13.2 billion.
Caterpillar, which is a global supplier of heavy construction and mining equipment with a $US60 billion market cap, is often considered a reliable bellwether of economic activity.
In the company’s earnings statement, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said, however, that global economic growth remains slower than the company would like to see.
3M, which is a classic conglomerate with a market cap of around $US95 billion, posted third quarter earnings per share of $US1.98, topping expectations for $US1.96, though the company’s quarter sales disappointed, growing 2.8% to $US8.1 billion which was shy of expectations for $US8.24 billion.
3M also narrowed its full-year earnings expectations slightly to $US7.40-$US7.50 per share from $US7.30-$US7.55, and said sales are expected to grow 4%-5% against previous expectations for 3%-6% growth.
In the third quarter, 3M paid out $US550 million in dividends and repurchased $US1.2 billion worth of its own shares, converting 103% of its net income to free cash flow during the quarter.
And as CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla noted on Twitter, this is just a huge move in 3M, especially given that the company had a good quarter, but not necessarily a complete blowout.
As we noted earlier this week amid IBM’s fall, each 1 point move in a Dow stock moves the index by a little more than 6.4 points.
Near noon, the Dow was up about 250 points.