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Dow rises after strong corporate earnings

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By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average rose in early trading Friday after more strong earnings reports from major U.S. companies. Broader indexes were mixed.

Merck & Co., Chevron Corp. and Caterpillar Inc. beat earnings forecasts for the first quarter. All three are among the 30 companies that make up the Dow average.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. rose 12 percent, the most of any company in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, after it set a company sales record and reversed its loss from the first quarter of last year.

Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment, rose 3 percent after its earnings rose more than five-fold. The company also raised its sales and profit outlook for the year.

"The industrial sector and the manufacturing sector of this country are much stronger than many investors have perceived," said Rob Lutts, president and chief investment officer of Cabot Money Management.

D.R. Horton Inc. also reported a surprisingly strong profit, sending the homebuilder's stock up 2 percent. The company said its profit more than doubled mostly because of a large tax benefit.

The Dow rose 18, or 0.2 percent, to 12,782 in morning trading. The index is on track to have its best month since December.


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