Stocks move higher as companies report solid earnings

Stocks move higher as companies report solid earnings
FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2019, file photo trader Mark Puetzer, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Oct. 15. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Solid financial results from some of the nation’s largest companies helped push stocks higher in early trading on Wall Street Tuesday.

Health care stocks led the market as insurer UnitedHealth Group and health care products company Johnson & Johnson raised their annual financial forecasts following surprisingly good third quarter results.

Chipmaker Nvidia rose 3.1% and led technology stocks higher.

Solid financial results from JPMorgan Chase and Charles Schwab helped push financial stocks higher.

Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.72% from 1.73% late Friday. Bond markets were closed Monday for Columbus Day.

Utilities and real estate companies lagged the market as investors backed away from safe-play holdings. Energy stocks were weighed down by falling crude oil prices for the second day in a row.

Tuesday marks the beginning of a busy few days for corporate earnings. United Airlines Holdings will report later in the day and give investors an early glimpse into the health of the airline industry.

Banks continue their earnings reports on Wednesday with Bank of America and PNC Financial. Railroad giant CSX, Netflix and IBM will also report results on Wednesday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.5% as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 144 points, or 0.5%, to 26,932. The Nasdaq rose 0.6%.

OVERSEAS: European markets rose. The European Union said that a deal with Britain is still possible ahead of their expected separation on Oct. 31. The trading bloc said that Britain needs to move ahead with more compromises to seal an agreement.

Markets in Asia were mixed.

EARNINGS WORRIES: The early batch of upbeat financial reports come amid broader concerns for another rough round of quarterly earnings reports as a wide range of industries absorb the impact of ongoing trade disputes and growing economic uncertainty. Corporate earnings are expected to contract by nearly 5% during the third quarter, according to FactSet.

The dire prediction could soften as more companies report earnings. Similar forecasts were made ahead of both the first and second quarter reporting periods and companies in the S&P 500 managed to deliver only a modest contraction each time.

Once again, analysts and investors will be listening closely to company forecasts for the rest of the year to gauge the economic impact of the U.S.-China trade war and other issues that could crimp economic growth.

HEALTHY FORECASTS: UnitedHealth Group rose 7.2% after it hiked its 2019 profit forecast. The nation’s largest health insurance company said the addition of hundreds of clinics to its health care services business helped drive revenue and profit during the third quarter, both of which beat Wall Street forecasts.

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of health care products, rose 2.2% after it also raised its profit forecast for the year following solid third quarter results. The company cited higher sales of key medicines for cancer and immune disorders.

BANKS AT BAT: JPMorgan Chase rose 2% after the bank beat Wall Street’s third quarter profit forecasts on growth from higher interest rates and solid performance from its investment banking business.

Other major banks reported mixed results.

Goldman Sachs fell 2.3% after reporting a dive in third quarter profits on losses from some of its public investments and as it struggled to drum up advisory business.

Citigroup fell 1.7% while Wells Fargo fell 1%.