Tech, health care stocks lead Wall Street indexes higher

Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga
Associated Press

Health care and technology companies led a broad rally for stocks on Wall Street Tuesday as investors welcomed another batch of encouraging company earnings reports.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7%, driving the benchmark index to its fifth straight gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.7%.

Among the tech sector winners were Apple, which rose 1.5%, and software maker Adobe, which added 2.1%. Johnson and Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of health care products, rose 2.3% after raising its profit forecast for the year following the release of strong third-quarter earnings.

This Monday, July 15, 2013, file photo shows the American flag and Wall Street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange.

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“Were starting to get more earnings in for the third quarter, and so far so good,” said Tom Hainlin, national investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “So far, the results are coming in and we haven’t had a material downgrade in outlooks.”

The S&P 500 rose 33.17 points to 4,519.63. The index is now within 0.4% of the all-time high it set Sept. 2. The Dow gained 198.70 points to 34,457.31. The Nasdaq rose 107.28 points to 15,129.09.

Small company stocks also rose. The Russell 2000 index gained 8.07 points, or 0.4%, to 2,275.91.

The broad gains for stocks follow a mixed start to the week as investors continue monitoring corporate earnings for clues as to how companies will move forward through the year as they deal with rising inflation, global supply chain delays and the economic recovery slowing down.

“There was a nervousness going in as we started to see some supply chain interruptions,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist with TD Ameritrade. “But, the overall picture is still a fairly positive one.”

Those supply chain problems are going to have different impacts on companies and industries, he said, including how they absorb the costs and whether they raise prices. Procter & Gamble fell 1.2% after saying it will raise prices as it faces higher commodity and freight costs.

So far, however, rising oil prices and other costs haven’t cut in severely on company profit margins, Hainlin said.

All told, analysts polled by FactSet are now forecasting earnings growth of 30% for the S&P 500, up from 23% in June.

The first exchange-traded fund to track Bitcoin futures rose 4.7% in its market debut Tuesday. Trading was very heavy for the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, reflecting the increasing interest in cryptocurrencies.

The ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF offers a potentially easier way for some investors to get into the fast-growing crypto world, though it invests in futures contracts for Bitcoin rather than the currency itself. The price of Bitcoin rose 4.5%, according to CoinDesk. Its running about 1.2% below its all-time high of $64,888.99 per coin.

Bond yields moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.64% from 1.58% late Monday.

Energy stocks gained ground as oil prices rose 0.6%. Exxon Mobil rose 1.5%. U.S. crude oil prices are up 73% for the year, while natural gas prices have risen roughly 81%. The prices have surged as the global economic recovery drives demand and it is raising concerns about a global energy crunch.

Insurance company Travelers rose 1.6% after it handily beat Wall Street’s third-quarter profit forecasts. Other large companies, including streaming entertainment giant Netflix and United Airlines, will report their results after the market closes.

Several key earnings from airlines this week will also give investors a clearer picture into the impact from a surge in COVID-19 cases over the summer. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines will report their results on Thursday.

Outside of earnings, the Commerce Department reported that U.S. home construction fell 1.6% in September as builders continue to be tripped up by supply chain bottlenecks. Shares of homebuilders were weaker. Beazer Homes fell 2.7% and Hovnanian Enterprises fell 3%.