Strong Earnings Propel Stocks Higher


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The markets zoomed higher Tuesday as traders cheered strong earnings from several high-profile companies.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 152 points, or 1.1%, to 14719, the S&P 500 gained 16.3 points, or 1%, to 1579 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 35.8 points, or 1.1%, to 3269.

Wall Street's upbeat sentiment persisted for another day on Tuesday.

First-quarter earnings season was in full swing with three Dow components reporting ahead of the opening bell. Travelers' (NYSE:TRV) results blew past expectations, sending the insurer's shares soaring in the pre-market. The company's shares added some 30 points to the Dow's overall gains.

Read: Wisner Says Apple is a Buy 

United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), the industrial giant, revealed profits that missed expectations after factoring out one-time favorable items, with sales also missing expectations. DuPont's (NYSE:DD) earnings per share topped the Street's view, with the chemical maker's sales coming inline with forecasts.

Another big gainer was Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which reported considerably stronger-than-expected quarterly results, coupled with a bullish assessment of its original series, "House of Cards." All eyes will be on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after the closing bell, when the world's biggest technology company reveals its quarterly results. The iPad-maker's behemoth market capitalization means moves in its stock price often have an outsize impact on the markets -- particularly the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

The Dow shed close to 145 points in seconds in early afternoon trading after a tweet from the Associated Press said there were "explosions" at the White House. A spokesperson for the wire service told FOX Business the tweet was "bogus" and that the company is "looking into it." The markets rebounded moments later. The Securities and Exchange Commission and Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department said sales of new, U.S. single-family homes ticked up 1.5% in March from February to a 417,000-unit annualized rate, falling short of the 420,000-unit rate analysts were expecting. Data on sales of existing homes also came in shy of estimates on Monday.

HSBC's China PMI slid to 50.5 in April from 51.6 in March, coming in far short of expectations of 51.5. The reading suggests the manufacturing sector in the world's No. 2 economy expanded at the slowest pace in two months.

Hongbin Qu, HSBC's chief economist for China, said in the report that the recent bout of weak data could put pressure on Bejing to ease further. Still, markets in China sold off, with the Hang Seng sliding 1.1%.

A separate report from Markit showed business activity in the eurozone contracting at the same pace in April as it did the month before. The services sector shrunk at the slowest pace in two months, but the manufacturing sector contracted at the swiftest pace in four. Indeed, Germany, the bloc's economic engine, saw its business activity skidding into contraction mode for the first time in five months.

"The latest figures suggest any rebound in GDP over the first quarter could be rather short-lived, not least as the manufacturing and service sectors both recorded faster declines in new orders than one month earlier," Tom Moore, a senior economist at Markit wrote in the report.

In commodities, U.S. oil prices slipped a penny, or 0.01%, to $89.18 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline sold off by 1.8% to $2.719 a gallon. Gold was down $12.40, or 0.87%, $1,409 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.9% to 2634, the English FTSE 100 jumped 1.1% to 6351 and the German DAX soared 1.3% to 7578.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 ticked lower by 0.29% to 13530 and the Chinese Hang Seng dropped 1.1% to 21807.

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