U.S. Stocks Tick Higher, on Track for Monthly Gains

By Riva Gold and Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks edge higher

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-- Nikkei ends best month in two years

-- Eurozone inflation figures soften

Shares of Mondelez International, Kellogg and other food companies helped the S&P 500 edge higher Tuesday, putting the index on track for its best month since February.

Corporate earnings continued to dictate the market's biggest moves. More than half of the S&P 500 have already released quarterly results and another big batch is scheduled to report this week, including Apple and Facebook, according to FactSet.

The S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% soon after the opening bell and was on track to gain 2.1% this month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 3 points, or less than 0.1%, to 23345. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2%.

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Shares of Mondelez, the maker of Oreo cookies, Wheat Thins crackers and Trident gum, gained 6.5% after the company reported rising sales and a higher profit. Kellogg, meanwhile, beat sales and profit expectations, helped by sales of its Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles products. Shares of the food company were up 7.3% in recent trading.

Those gains led the S&P 500's consumer-staples group 0.6% higher.

Not all corporate results were upbeat. Under Armour shares slid nearly 15% after the athletic-wear maker issued a profit warning and missed revenue expectations. Health insurer Aetna fell 1.4% after it reported a decline in revenue and raised its profit forecast for the year.

And chip maker Qualcomm was down nearly 7% after The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was considering using only chips from Intel and possibly MediaTek in its iPhones and iPads. Shares of Intel were up about 2%, while MediaTek rose about 2.4%.

The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note was little changed at 2.372%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.374% on Monday. Yields fall as bond prices rise.

Bond markets have also been driven in recent sessions by speculation about future leadership at the Fed, with President Donald Trump expected to announce his pick to head the central bank some time this week.

"The chairperson of the Fed has a significant role in influencing the course of financial markets," said Jason Borbora, portfolio manager at Investec Asset Management. He said he thinks other members of the Fed and economists within it will remain largely unchanged, mitigating the impact on monetary policy of a change in leadership.

The Stoxx Europe 600 edged up 0.2%, with trading volumes expected to be curbed by a holiday in Germany. Shares of British oil giant BP rose 2.8% after it said it expects production to increase in the next quarter and plans to restart its share-buyback program. That helped offset declines in bank shares after BNP Paribas reported a fall in revenue, sending shares down 3.2%.

Earlier, Japanese equities pared losses but banks underperformed after the nation's central bank said it would maintain its easy-money measures to spur inflation and lowered some of its price forecasts.

The Nikkei Stock Average had fallen as much as 0.8% earlier in the session but recovered to close flat. The Nikkei ended October 8.1% higher, its strongest month in two years.

Elsewhere in the region, the Shanghai Composite Index reversed early losses to edge up 0.1%, while the Shenzhen stock benchmark was up 0.5%.

South Korea's Kospi rose 0.9%, buoyed by gains in heavyweight Samsung Electronics after the company reported another set of record quarterly results.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 31, 2017 10:42 ET (14:42 GMT)