Wall Street jumps as earnings top forecasts

RetailReuters

Stocks climbed on Tuesday as stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings from such bellwethers as Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson tempered recent concerns that the sluggish global economy would dent third-quarter results.

Dow components Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth Group , both raised their full-year profit views while Goldman Sachs increased its dividend.

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Goldman Sachs shares gained 0.9 percent to $125.63 after the banking company posted earnings that beat expectations and revenue that more than doubled. Goldman's results followed earnings in the two previous sessions from Citigroup Inc , JP Morgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo .

Shares of Johnson & Johnson, the diversified U.S. healthcare company, rose 1.2 percent to $69.39. The stock of UnitedHealth, the largest U.S. health insurer, added 0.2 percent to $57.60, reversing a dip into negative territory after a rally in pre-market trading.

The S&P 500 is on track for its second consecutive advance on the heels of last week's 2.2 percent slide. That was the benchmark index's worst weekly decline in four months as investors looked for more evidence on the global economic climate from large multinational companies.

"You would have to really get some positive data points out of this earnings season to take the next leg higher," said Jeff Morris, head of U.S. equities at Standard Life Investments in Boston.

So far, Morris said "we've seen some financials come in with good results, but we still need a lot of other industrials to come out with those numbers to provide those data points."

Stocks have been range-bound for the past month in the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest plan to stimulate the economy. The S&P 500 has oscillated between near five-year highs after the Fed's announcement to touching its technical support level of the 50-day moving average over the past two sessions.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 123.48 points, or 0.92 percent, to 13,547.71 The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 13.27 points, or 0.92 percent, to 1,453.40. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 29.01 points, or 0.95 percent, to 3,093.19.

Coca-Cola Co also reported a rise in earnings, but quarterly revenue came in short of Wall Street's expectations, hurt by declines in Europe and Asia. Its stock shed 0.4 percent to $37.97.

Citigroup unexpectedly announced that Chief Executive Vikram Pandit had resigned effective immediately, along with Chief Operating Officer John Havens. Michael Corbat, previously chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa, was named to succeed Pandit.

The announcement came one day after a surprisingly strong quarterly earnings report. Citigroup's stock gained 0.9 percent to $36.99.

"It certainly is a bit of a shock," Morris said. "Certainly the transitioning and the messaging was more abrupt than I think anybody would have anticipated."

Investors have been treated to a mixed bag of results in the early portion of earnings season, although investors' expectations may have been affected by cautious corporate outlooks from large multinationals.

Quarterly profits of S&P 500 companies are seen dropping 2.3 percent from the year-ago period, according to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning. With about 10 percent of S&P companies having reported, 60 percent have topped profit expectations, under the average beat rate of 67 percent for the past four quarters.

Intel and International Business Machines Corp are scheduled to report after the closing bell. Their results will be among the first major earnings reports from the tech sector, which has been hit by a number of profit warnings, including from Intel. Intel's stock rose 2.3 percent to $22.23. IBM shares rose 0.6 percent to $210.09.

Economic data showed the U.S. Consumer Price Index rose in September as the cost of gasoline surged, posing a threat to consumers' spending power although inflation pressures look unlikely to derail the Federal Reserve's ultra-easy policy path.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Jan Paschal)