Stocks close higher following solid earnings results

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U.S. stocks marched broadly higher on Wall Street Tuesday as several major companies reported solid second quarter gains.

Investors pushed stocks closer to the record highs they reached just over a week ago. The gains followed several stumbles last week, extending a period of volatility in July as investors weigh a looming rate cut by the Federal Reserve as well as uncertainties over trade and the economy.

Corporate earnings are now in full swing after last week’s relatively light load of mixed results. Nearly 150 companies in the S&P 500 will report their financial results through Friday. Analysts are expecting earnings to decline overall for the second quarter in a row.

“Interestingly, the market seems like it almost doesn’t care,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede Trust Co.

The earnings downturn has been modest so far and is being tempered by a still expanding economy and a Federal Reserve that has said it is willing to support growth.

The S&P 500 index rose 20.44 points, or 0.7%, to 3,005.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 177.29 points, or 0.7%, to 27,349.19. The Nasdaq composite rose 47.27 points, or 0.6%, to 8,251.40.

Banks were the clear market leaders throughout the day. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and several others gained ground as bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.07% from 2.04% late Monday. Higher bond yields allow banks to charge higher interest on loans.

Earnings were the clear focus of the day and the key drivers for much of the market.

Coca-Cola soared 6.1% and reached a record high close after raising its revenue forecast for the year following a solid second quarter. The surprisingly good results helped lift other consumer product makers. Kraft Heinz rose 1.5% and Kellogg rose 3.0%.

Stanley Black & Decker surged 7.2% after it reported second quarter profit well above analysts’ forecasts. The tool maker made one of the biggest gains in the industrial sector. General Electric rose 4.3% and 3M rose 1.6%.

Biogen rose 4.9% and Quest gained 5.4% on solid earnings results and helped push the broader health care sector higher.

Other notable earnings results came from toy maker Hasbro, which rose 10% after blowing away Wall Street’s second quart profit expectations. The company reported growth for many of its classic games and toys, including the board game Monopoly and Play-Doh. It also reported growth for its digital game “Magic: The Gathering” and got some help from its partnership with Marvel on Avengers and Spider-Man action figures.

Utilities were the only sector to fall as investors dumped defensive holdings and took on more risk.

Homebuilders fell broadly after the National Association of Realtors reported a 1.7% drop in sales of previously owned homes in June. Rising prices and a scarce supply of homes have been making it more difficult for first-time homebuyers. D.R. Horton fell 2.6% and PulteGroup shed 8.3%.

Texas Instruments reported earnings after the closing bell that were far better than analysts were expecting, and its stock jumped 6% in after-hours trading.

The steady flow of corporate results continues Wednesday with companies including AT&T, Caterpillar and Facebook.

European stocks moved broadly higher, though London’s FTSE 100 lagged far behind other regional indexes with a gain of just 0.6% after Boris Johnson was elected to lead Britain’s Conservative Party, putting him in line to become the next prime minister. That could make it more likely that Britain has a disorderly exit from the European Union.

Germany’s DAX soared 1.6% and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.9%.

Benchmark crude oil rose 55 cents to settle at $56.77 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 57 cents to close at $63.83 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.86 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 2 cents to $1.92 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1 cent to $2.30 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $5.20 to $1,420.10 per ounce, silver rose 7 cents to $16.41 per ounce and copper fell 2 cents to $2.69 per pound.

The dollar rose to 108.26 Japanese yen from 107.86 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.1150 from $1.1211.



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