This is the busiest week of the third quarter earnings season, with almost a third of the S&P 500 scheduled to report by Friday. Helping spur optimism was the 6.00% jump in 3M shares after the company reported third quarter earnings of $2.33 per share, beating analyst projections of per share profit of $2.21 on $7.93 billion of sales. Adding to the Dow’s gains was Caterpillar’s 5.00% rally after the earth-moving machine fabricator recorded EPS of $1.95 on sales of $11.41 billion, beating bottom line estimates of $1.27 per share and top line forecasts of $10.65 billion.
On the economic data front, the flash US Composite PMI rose to a nine-month high of 55.7 in October while the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey indicated a slowdown in activity. Dow futures are marginally lower around 23,380 in early Wednesday trade after briefly surpassing 23,400 on Tuesday.