U.S. stocks climb on strong economic data
NEW YORK — It’s only been a day, but November on Wall Street is already looking a lot better than October.
Strong economic data and corporate news converged Thursday to give U.S. stocks their best day since mid-September. Positive signs about the job market and higher auto and retail sales reports pushed stock futures up before the market opened.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 136.16, or 1 percent, at 13,232.62. The S&P 500 rose 15.43, or 1.1 percent, to 1,427.59. The Nasdaq index added 42.83, or 1.4 percent, to 3,020.06. All three indexes fell in October, their first monthly losses since May.
The first surge came after the Institute for Supply Management said factories are seeing more orders and increased production. Also, the Conference Board said Americans’ confidence in the economy surged last month to the highest level in nearly five years. Many were encouraged by an improving job market.
Honda to expand plant at Pee Dee, add 65 jobs
TIMMONSVILLE — Honda is moving production of its two-seat all-terrain vehicles from a plant in Mexico to its Timmonsville facility, adding 65 new jobs.
The company made the announcement Thursday at the same time they celebrated making 2.5 million all-terrain vehicles at the Pee Dee plant.
The new line for two-seat vehicles should be in place next summer. Honda is investing $27 million in the plant, which opened in 1998 and has exclusively made ATVs.
Honda said the market for ATVs that seat more than one person is growing in the U.S. The Mexican plant will be converted to making ATVs.
Most carmakers report increases in October sales
DETROIT — Most major automakers reported sales increases in October despite losing at least three days of business to the punishing rain and wind from Superstorm Sandy.
Toyota said its sales rose almost 16 percent for the month, while Volkswagen reported another strong month with sales up 22 percent. Honda sales slowed from double-digit growth earlier in the year to 8.8 percent, while Chrysler sales rose 10 percent. General Motors was up 5 percent and Ford rose slightly.
Of major automakers, only Nissan reported a decrease, 3.2 percent, as Sandy pounded the Northeast, the company’s top-performing region.
Ford promotes Fields, who could become CEO
DETROIT — Ford’s leaders have watched Mark Fields, a Harvard MBA, turn the company’s North American business into a profit machine. Now they’re eyeing him for CEO.
Fields, 51, was named chief operating officer Thursday, a sign the board favors him for the top job when CEO Alan Mulally eventually retires.
Mulally, 67, plans to stay at least through 2014, a decision that reassured Wall Street.
The announcement puts to rest for now speculation about Ford’s succession plans.
Exxon’s 3Q profit falls 7 percent to $9.57 billion
IRVING, Texas — Exxon Mobil Corp.’s third-quarter profit fell 7 percent as it produced less oil and gas and fetched lower prices. The weak global economy has lowered demand for everything from gasoline to jet fuel. Fear about future growth has undercut prices for oil and natural gas. The nation’s biggest oil company said that net income totaled $9.57 billion.
Starbucks lifts forecast as traffic climbs in cafes
NEW YORK — Starbucks Corp. on Thursday raised its forecast for the year, after the coffee chain said more customers are going to its cafes, even in the challenging global economy.
The company said global revenue at cafes open at least a year rose 6 percent in the fiscal fourth quarter, driven by higher customer traffic.