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Stocks rise as profits, confidence index climb
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose Tuesday after a key index tracking consumer confidence jumped and several companies reported solid earnings. The energy sector and small-company stocks surged.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 149 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,966 as of 3:07 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 18 points, or 1 percent, to 1,980. The Nasdaq composite rose 60 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,546.

The Russell 2000, an index of small-company stocks, rose 27, or 2.5 percent, to 1,144.

HIGHER PROFITS: Several of the 48 companies in the S&P 500 reporting earnings Tuesday rose sharply. Whirlpool jumped 7 percent. Caterpillar climbed 2.5 percent, the biggest gain in the Dow index. The heavy-equipment maker reported strong earnings and raised its profit outlook for the year.

Amgen, the world's biggest biotech drugmaker, rose 5 percent after it announced plans to cut more jobs, buy back $2 billion worth of stock and raise its dividend by 30 percent. That followed news Monday that Amgen's third-quarter adjusted earnings and revenue topped Wall Street's expectations.

CONFIDENCE BOOST: An index of U.S. consumer confidence rebounded strongly in October, hitting a seven-year high as solid job gains raised expectations for economic growth. The rise was enough to offset a weak reading Tuesday in durable goods. Orders to U.S. companies for long-lasting manufactured goods fell for a second month in September, a government report showed. Orders have jumped around in recent months due to moves in the volatile category of aircraft orders.

THE QUOTE: "Confidence is good, and we're predicting Christmas is going to be very strong," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investments.

SLIM IS IN: The Madison Square Garden Co. surged 10 percent after it said it's considering a plan to split off its entertainment businesses from its media and sports divisions. The stock rose $6.91 to $72.69.

TWITTER TUMBLE: The social-media company plunged 9 percent after issuing a disappointing outlook for the current quarter. Twitter reported third-quarter revenue late Monday that outpaced expectations, but investors are worried about revenue for the last three months of the year and growth in the number of users. The stock fell $4.33 to $44.24.

HOME WATCH: Homebuilders rose following news that U.S. home prices grew in August, albeit at a more modest pace. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.6 percent in August from 12 months earlier. Home prices were rising at a double-digit pace as recently as last fall. Meritage Homes gained $1.07, or 2.8 percent, to $38.83 and D.R. Horton rose 32 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $23.25.

ALL EYES ON FED: Investors are looking ahead to Wednesday's announcement from the Federal Reserve's policymaking committee for insight into when the central bank might start raising interest rates. The Fed is winding down its $4 trillion bond-buying program, which is known as quantitative easing. There is heightening concern about whether the U.S. economy is strong enough to sustain growth without that support.

ENERGY: The price of U.S. crude oil rose 42 cents to $81.42 a barrel in New York. That helped push up energy stocks 2 percent, the biggest gain among the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500. Crude has dropped sharply since June, when it went as high as $107 a barrel.

BONDS AND DOLLAR: The price of the 10-year Treasury note fell slightly. The yield, which moves in the opposite direction, rose to 2.29 percent from 2.26 percent late Monday. The dollar rose to 108.10 yen. The euro rose to $1.2739.

METALS: The price of gold edged up 10 cents to $1,229.40 an ounce, silver rose six cents to $17.23 an ounce and copper rose three cents to $3.09 a pound.