Stocks up despite health care company worries

Stocks rose Tuesday -- with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a 2019 high in mid-session -- as financial shares paced gainers, but concerns that possible changes to Medicare may hit private health care insurers trimmed early session advances.

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Johnson & Johnson shares gained on improved guidance for the year, but UnitedHealth, the nation's largest insurer, fell after its CEO expressed concern that the Medicare for All bill proposed by House Democrats posed a threat to the industry.

Johnson & Johnson, which makes Tylenol, said its first-quarter profit was down 14 percent but it beat profit and revenue expectations.

Meanwhile, profits rose by double-digits percentage points at Bank of America. in the first quarter of 2019, the firm said on Tuesday, underscored by a bustling consumer banking operation amid what its top executive called solid U.S. economic growth. However, shares fell after the bank reported that revenue in the three months through March was $23 billion, slightly less than analyst estimates.

Shares of chipmaker Qualcomm rocketed more than 20 percent higher after it settled a years-long royalty payment dispute with Apple. The global patent license agreement and chipset supply agreement, reached shortly after the two tech giants began facing off in a California courtroom, ended years of litigation between the two companies.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
QCOMQUALCOMM INC.111.39+0.44+0.40%

The settlement obliges Apple, which has accused Qualcomm of forcing customers to pay twice to gain access to its chips, to pay Qualcomm an as-yet undisclosed amount.

A Federal Aviation Administration review panel on Tuesday certified the safety of the training for Boeing's new software update for the 737 Max jet fleet, sending shares of the Chicago-based aerospace giant higher.

Boeing is working on a final software patch -- which has yet to be submitted to the FAA -- that is expected to address errors in the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation Syste, an auto-mpilot program that can automatically force the plane’s nose down at takeoff to prevent stalling. The system led to two recent crashes involving the Max aircraft.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27201.52+373.05+1.39%
SP500S&P 5003327.77+21.26+0.64%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10998.397778+57.23+0.52%

Meanwhile, the head of the Boston Federal Reserve said on Monday that the U.S. central bank should commit to letting inflation exceed 2 percent "in good times," according to Reuters. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans made similar comments.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose modestly to 2.59 percent from 2.55 percent.

Crude oil prices were steady at  $63.68 per barrel, and gold prices fell 1 percent to $1,277.20 per ounce -- its lowest closing this year.

The gains by major American indexes followed increases in markets overseas, which rallied on upbeat economic data from Germany and China.


The Shanghai Composite closed up 2.39 percent, the Hang Seng added 1.07 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 increased 0.24 percent.

Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.63 percent, France's CAC 40 increased 0.29 percent and Germany's DAX rose 0.72 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.