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Stocks rise, aided by Ford, 3M results

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 54 points Wednesday, ending a four-day run of record closes. (Oct. 23, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Another dose of strong corporate earnings, this time from Ford, Southwest Airlines and others, helped push the stock market higher Thursday.

It's one of the busiest weeks on Wall Street for companies posting their quarterly results. Roughly a third of the Standard & Poor's 500 index will report earnings.

For investors this week also has been a welcome return to business as usual. Wall Street has been focused for weeks on what's going on in Washington, with the government shutdown, the near-breach of the nation's borrowing limit and questions about what's next for the Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program.

So far, corporate earnings have come in pretty much as most money managers expected. Companies are reporting bigger profits, but most of the growth has come from cost-cutting, a trend that hasn't changed very much since the financial crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 95.88 points to 15,509.21. The S&P 500 index added 0.33 percent to 1,752.07, about two points below the record high of 1,754.67 it reached on Tuesday.

The Nasdaq composite was up 0.56 percent to 3,928.96.

-- AP

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