Earnings Propel Wall Street as S&P Eyes Record Highs

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U.S. equity markets climbed for the ninth session out the past 11 as the broad S&P 500 pushed into striking distance of its record highs.

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 86.6 points, or 0.53%, to 16535, the S&P 500 advanced 8.9 points, or 0.48%, to 1878 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 29.1 points, or 0.72%, to 4104.

Monday was a tumultuous trading session: The markets shot between gains and losses as traders paid close attention to developments in Ukraine. Ultimately, the Dow and S&P 500 ended to the upside.

Analysts cited easing tension in Eastern Europe as a reason for the early gains seen on Wall Street and foreign markets. Better-than-expected profits from pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE:MRK) helped the blue-chip stock climb.

Earnings from eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) are due out after the closing bell in New York.

On the economic front, the Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day meeting. The policy statement is due out on Wednesday.

Home prices in 20 major U.S. cities were unchanged in February from January on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, as forecast, according to the closely-watched S&P/Case-Shiller gauge. Prices jumped 12.9% from the year prior, shallower than the 13% increase Wall Street anticipated.

A separate report from the Conference Board showed consumer confidence for the month of April fell to 82.3, from a revised March reading of 83.9. The reading missed Wall Street expectations of 83.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures climbed 57 cents, or 0.57%, to $101.40 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline rose 0.31% to $3.05 a gallon. Gold dropped $8.90, or 0.69%, to $1,290 a troy ounce.

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