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The markets zipped higher for the second day this week as traders responded to a round of upbeat corporate earnings and U.S. economic data.
As of 3:00 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 103 points, or 0.77%, to 13526, the S&P 500 gained 11.3 points, or 0.78%, to 1451 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 30.3 points, or 1%, to 3095.
Energy, material and financial stocks were enjoying the best day by a wide margin, but every major sector was in the green. Traditionally defensive plays such as utilities and consumer staples lagged behind the broader markets.
Traders had a slew of earnings to parse through ahead of the opening bell.
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Goldman Sachs (GS) unveiled third-quarter profits of $2.85 a share on revenues of $8.35 billion, beating estimates of $2.12 a share on sales of $7.3 billion. The investment bank also raised its quarterly dividend to 50 cents a share from 46 cents.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) posted third-quarter earnings of $1.25 a share, excluding special items, beating estimates by four cents. The health-care giant’s revenues came in at $17.1 billion, also better than forecasts of $16.98 billion. The Dow component also raised its full-year guidance to a range of $5.05 to $5.10 a share, from $5 to $5.07 a share.
Coca-Cola (KO) revealed an adjusted third-quarter profit of 51 cents a share, meeting Wall Street’s expectations. The beverage and snack maker’s sales came in at $12.34 billion, shy of estimates of $12.41 billion. Shares fell slightly in pre-market trading.
UnitedHealth (UNH), the blue-chip insurer, revealed quarterly earnings of $1.50 a share, besting estimates of $1.34 a share. Revenues came in at $27.3 billion, slightly shy of Wall Street's estimates of $27.62 billion. The latest entrant to the Dow also raised its full-year 2012 outlook to a range of $5.20 to $5.25 a share, compared to expectations of $5.14.
Also on the corporate front, Vikram Pandit stepped down as Citigroup's (C) CEO and will be replaced with Michael Corbat. Chief Operating Officer John Havens also resigned.
Citigroup shares have tumbled some 89% during Pandit's tenure, which coincided with the global financial crisis and Citi's subsequent massive government bailout, according to data compiled by FOX Business.
Traders also had a slew of economic reports to parse through.
The Labor Department said inflation at the consumer level increased 0.6% in September from August, a bigger increase than the 0.5% economists expected, as energy prices jumped. Excluding food and energy, prices ticked up 0.1%, a smaller gain than the 0.2% expected.
A separate report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. industrial production revving up by 0.4% in September from August, a swifter pace than the 0.2% economists expected. Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders' gauge of housing-market sentiment climbed to 41 in October from 40 the month before -- notching the highest level since June 2006. The market for new homes, while still depressed relative to years before the housing market collapse, has been showing new signs of life.
Oil futures were mildly lower after a volatile session on Monday. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 24 cents, or 0.26%, to $92.09 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.18% to $2.845 a gallon.
In metals, gold gained $8.70, or 0.5%, to $1,746 a troy ounce.
The Euro Stoxx 50 soared 2.5% to 5148, the English FTSE 100 rallied 1.1% to 5871 and the German DAX advanced 1.6% to 7376.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.4% to 8701 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged up by 0.28% to 21207.