The Dow, which advanced as much as 186.41 points, saw late profit-taking undermine some of its earlier gains. The blue chip index closed up 39.4 points or .47 percent at 8,505.85, managing to post gains for the fifth straight day.
IBM, the world's largest computer maker, announced after the market closed today that it had posted third-quarter earnings of 1.56 per share on revenue of $20.1 billion. A consensus of analysts had pegged the company's earnings at 1.53 per share, according to First Call. IBM's stock had fallen 1.35 percent to 137.5 ahead of the earnings news.
The Nasdaq shed all of its midday gains and headed straight south in late trading as traders opted for profit-taking. The index closed down 9.55 points or .58 percent at 1,639.18.
The five most actively traded stocks on the Nasdaq market today all retreated today.
Microsoft was the third most actively traded stock on the index, and slipped 2.61 percent to 100.25 ahead of its stellar earnings report. After the markets closed, the software giant announced it had posted earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of $3.95 billion for its first quarter ended September 30. A consensus of analysts had expected the company to earn 49 cents per share, according to First Call.
Dell Computer and Ascend Communications were the top two most active stocks, falling 6.88 percent and 10.31 percent, respectively. Ascend reported earnings yesterday that beat estimates by one cent per share.
Overseas, most markets were higher, with Japan's Nikkei Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closing 1.78 percent and nearly half a percent higher, respectively.