Stocks finished higher Thursday amid positive Brexit developments and strong earnings reports. News that the European Union and the U.K. reached a preliminary deal buoyed equity markets around the globe. Gains were capped attributed to growing concern that the compromise may not win parliamentary approval. The Dow gained 23 points, while the S&P 500 added 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4%.
Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors ended the session in positive territory with Technology the lone group to close in negative territory. Earnings season is off to a strong start as more than 75% of companies that have reported topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet data. Morgan Stanley climbed 1.5% after easily beating consensus earnings and revenue estimates. Netflix rose 2.4% as its quarterly results topped estimates and reported stronger-than-expected subscriber growth overseas. Railroad transportation company CSX Corp. jumped 1.1% after releasing better-than-anticipated profits. Shares of IBM missed out on the broad advance, losing 5.5% after missing revenue estimates and reporting its fifth consecutive quarter of declining sales.
On the data front, initial jobless claims rose to 214,000 in the latest week after unexpectedly falling to 210,000 in the prior period. Separately, industrial production dipped 0.4%, more than the anticipated 0.2% decline and well below the upwardly revised 0.8% August figure. Another report showed housing starts slumped 9.4% in September after reaching a 12-year high in August. Treasuries weakened, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note rising two basis points to 1.76%.
In commodities, WTI crude rallied 1.3% to $54.04/barrel. COMEX gold ticked up 0.3% to $1,492.30/ounce.