Stocks close up on China stimulus hopes, tech company gains

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U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday as rising shares of tech and biotech companies boosted major equity averages.

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Shares also got an boost early in the day’s trading session as the People’s Bank of China said it will increase efforts this year to stimulate its economy by improving credit availability for small companies and cut taxes.

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Incy Corp., Edwards Lifesciences and Nektar Therapeutics, among other biotech and pharmaceutical companies, posted big gains.

Further, a price hike by Netflix boosted shares of the streaming service and also gave the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite a boost.

U.S. investors appeared unmoved, shortly before the markets closed, by the overwhelming defeat in Parliament of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

The positive developments offset the effect of disappointing quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase. The nation’s biggest bank by assets said before the market opened it had fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.98 on managed revenue of $26.8 billion.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
INCYINCYTE CORPORATION81.21+3.09+3.96%
EWEDWARDS LIFESCIENCES219.66+4.55+2.12%
NKTRNEKTAR THERAPEUTICS20.15-0.07-0.35%
NFLXNETFLIX INC.270.75-15.85-5.53%

That missed analyst expectations of $2.20 per share. The revenue estimate was $26.83 billion.

Shares of the bank, which cited weakness in bond trading due to spikes in market volatility at the end of the year, initially fell on the disappointing results but later rose and posted a gain on the day.

Wells Fargo reported fourth-quarter profit of  $6.06 billion or $1.21 per share, topping the estimate for $1.17. Revenue was $20.98 billion, falling short of the  $21.73 billion estimate.

TickerSecurityLastChange%Chg
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26935.07-159.72-0.59%
SP500S&P 5002992.07-14.72-0.49%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8117.674437-65.20-0.80%

There was concern earlier in the day on Republican Senator Chuck Grassley's comments on U.S.-China trade talks.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer did not see much progress made on structural issues during the trade talks last week, Grassley said.

On the U.S. economic calendar, producer prices fell 0.2 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent in November.

New York manufacturers reported tepid growth in January as the pace of new orders and shipments slowed.

German officials said economic growth slowed last year to its weakest rate in five years, slipping to 1.5 percent from 2.2 percent in 2017. The news increased concerns about a global downturn and the impact of trade conflicts.

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In Europe, the major indexes finished the day higher. Britain’s FTSE added 0.65 percent, Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 increased by 0.43 percent.

Asian stocks closed higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed up nearly 1 percent to 20,555.29, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped more than 2 percent and the Shanghai Composite rose 1 percent.

FOX Business' Ken Martin contributed to this report.