Earnings remain in the forefront of investors' minds, with plenty of time left to go in the third-quarter earnings season. Thanks to some positive news from Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) as well as a 9.9% gain in durable-goods orders and a drop in initial claims for unemployment benefits, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) managed a gain of 35 points as of 11 a.m. EDT.

Procter & Gamble rose more than 3.5% and hit a new four-year high after its earnings came in ahead of analyst expectations. Moreover, the company affirmed its guidance for the full year of $3.80 to $4 per share in earnings, avoiding the guidance cuts that so many of its peers have had to issue so far this earnings season. With activist investor Bill Ackman looking over his shoulder, CEO Bob McDonald has worked to keep costs down and try to reinvigorate P&G's product line, but whether it will prove enough in the long run remains to be seen.

Boeing (NYSE:BA) fell more than 1%. Despite the fact that most of the strength in the durable-goods report came from aircraft orders, and despite projections of a huge market for future airplane sales, Boeing must be concerned about earnings in the airline industry. This morning, United Continental (NYSE:UAL) missed earnings estimates and fell more than 2.5%, raising worries about demand among travelers.

Finally, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) gained almost 2%. Yesterday's comments from CEO Meg Whitman at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo tried to emphasize the potential for the ailing tech company, highlighting strength in networking-equipment sales in China and continuing technological innovation in servers. Still, HP has a long way to go before it convinces many once-burned investors that a true turnaround is in place.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Procter & Gamble. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.