Industrial firms lift Wall Street

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Last Updated at 21 Sep 2017, 19:58 GMT *Chart shows local time Dow Jones intraday chart
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(Close): US markets closed higher on Thursday, with investors buoyed by some strong company results.

Caterpillar and 3M posted positive numbers and saw their shares rise, though Amazon and Microsoft after hours gave a more mixed picture.

By the end of trading the Dow Jones was up 217 points, or 1.3%, at 16,678, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed up 70 points, or 1.6%, to 4,453.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 ended the day 1.2% higher at 1,951.

Caterpillar and 3M both added more than 4% on the back of strong quarterly profits that beat expectations.

Analysts welcomed the pair's performance.

"Seeing multinationals like Caterpillar and 3M post solid beats gives us confidence that economic growth is holding on and probably better than the market is currently expecting," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York.

Car maker General Motors also reported higher-than-expected profits, citing strong demand for its redesigned full-size pickup trucks in North America.

Shares initially traded higher, but ended the day down after some analysts warned of slowing growth in Europe - a major car market - as well as increased pressures in North America.

Markets also took heart from strong numbers posted by a widely regarded economic indicator, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index.

The index increased by 0.8% in September, more than the 0.6% expected by economists.

After the bell there was mixed results from digital giants Microsoft and Amazon, however.

Microsoft reporting a rise in revenues that beat analyst expectations, despite a fall in profits resulting from its takeover of Nokia's smartphones business.

Meanwhile Amazon disappointed with a widening of its losses as it continued to reinvest money into new ventures and acquisitions.