Wall Street rallied for a second consecutive day on Tuesday as investors turned their attention to earnings season and positive quarterly results that lifted the benchmarks to multi-week highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at the best level in a month, with more than two thirds of its components gaining. UnitedHealth ( UNH ) was up 3.6% after its better-than-expected results. General Electric ( GE ) posted a 3.5% rise amid reports its Jenbacher unit is attracting interest from Cummins ( CMI ) and CVC Capital Partners.
Tech names were also broadly positive, with the sector up about 2% for the day on the S&P 500 as a surge in Netflix ( NFLX ) after its earnings lifted the key FANG stocks and helped the Nasdaq Composite outperform the other measures. Facebook ( FB ), Alphabet (GOOGL) and Amazon.com (AMZN) all advanced in the session.
Earnings have put investors back in a buying mood, with all the S&P's sectors in the green by the close. Of the 44 S&P companies that have reported earnings so far, 77% have beat estimates on earnings and 84% have topped on sales, according to the Earnings Scout.
The cheery reports helped investors look past geopolitics, with President Donald Trump meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in discussions that were set to focus on North Korea and trade issues, according to the White House.
In economic data, March housing starts were up 6.7% last month to a better-than-expected seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.319 million. Permits increased 4.6% to 1.354 million. Industrial production was up 0.5% in March, beating expectations for 0.4%, while capacity utilization improved to 78% from 77.7%
Wednesday's calendar has the weekly Mortgage Bankers' Association applications index at 7 am ET with the Fed's Beige Book for its May meeting at 2 pm. The earnings calendar has American Express (AXP) and Morgan Stanley (MS), among others.
Here's where the markets stood by the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 213.59 points (+0.87%)
S&P 500 was up 28.55 points (+1.07%)
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 124.81 points (+1.74%)
FTSE 100 was up 0.39%
Nikkei 225 was up 0.06%
Hang Seng Index was down 0.83%
Shanghai China Composite Index was down 1.39%
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