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The Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) posted triple-digit gains today, rising 111 points as investors once again turned to the Federal Reserve to restore confidence in a flagging economy. Yet even with the Fed's decision not coming until tomorrow, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD), and U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) got a head start with big gains. Let's take a closer look to find out what sent those stocks soaring today.
Nokia rose 10% after its third-quarter earnings report. Revenue dropped 22% from the year-ago quarter, but Nokia managed to earn a small profit, defying expectations for an equally small loss. Many investors had figured that after selling its handset division to Microsoft, there'd be little left for Nokia to do. But the company's interim CEO pointed to other opportunities beyond smartphones, especially its network equipment business, as potentially driving substantial profits in the years to come as wireless carriers build out their networks to compete.
Sears Holdings jumped by 12% on news that it's considering further spinoffs of two of its lucrative businesses. The popular Lands' End clothing retailer and the Sears Auto Center businesses could become independent publicly traded companies, freeing Sears to focus on its core retail operations. Yet with Sears also providing downbeat early guidance for its third-quarter earnings and same-store sales figures, it's hard to have much confidence in what would be left after past and future spinoffs break the business apart.
U.S. Steel gained 9%, with the steel giant managing to cut its losses despite a shortfall in sales. U.S. Steel's adjusted loss was only a third of what investors had feared, with announced cost-cutting measures provoking excitement among shareholders. In particular, news that the company's Canadian Hamilton Works iron and steelmaking operations would close along with two Indiana-based Gary Works coking plants spurred hope that U.S. Steel could finally turn profitable, especially if successes in its flat-rolled segment lead to broader gains companywide.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. 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.