US STOCKS-Wall St rises on tech boost, robust Johnson & Johnson earnings

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* Johnson & Johnson rises after beat-and-raise quarter

* Technology shares provide biggest boost to S&P

* Indexes up: Dow 0.40%, S&P 0.31%, Nasdaq 0.36% (Updates prices to open)

By Amy Caren Daniel

April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, powered bystellar results from healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnsonand gains in technology stocks, with the benchmark S&P 500 lessthan a percent away from its all-time high.

Johnson & JohnsonJNJ.N gained 2.7% after beatingquarterly profit estimates and raising adjusted sales growthforecast for the year.

The results helped healthcare .SPXHC , the worst performingsector this year, gain 0.69%. The index has risen 4.9% thisyear, compared with a 16.3% climb for the S&P 500.

UnitedHealth Group IncUNH.N , which rose after beatingquarterly profit estimates and raising its adjusted earningstarget for the year, reversed course to drop 1.3%.

"UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson raising their forecastis a hugely good thing as heading into the year we thought wemight see an earnings pause or an earnings recession," said KimForrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners inPittsburgh.

"These companies who typically don't want to have apre-announcement saying they have to walk back on their earningsexpectations, for them to raise guidance is really good."

Banks have posted mixed earnings so far. Bank of AmericaCorpBAC.N declined 2% after revenue missed in the firstquarter but earnings still beat forecasts.

JPMorgan Chase & CoJPM.N kicked off earnings for thegroup on a strong note on Friday, but Goldman Sachs Group IncGS.N and Citigroup IncC.N disappointed on Monday withrevenue misses.

Of the 33 S&P 500 companies that reported through Monday,81.8% came in above estimates, above the 76% average of the pastfour quarters, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts now expect S&P 500 companies to post a 2.1%year-on-year decline in profits, which would mark the firstannual decline since 2016.

At 9:42 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI wasup 105.02 points, or 0.40%, at 26,489.79. The S&P 500 .SPX wasup 8.90 points, or 0.31%, at 2,914.48 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 28.75 points, or 0.36%, at 8,004.77.

Technology shares rose 0.6%, and provided the biggest boostto markets on gains in Apple IncAAPL.O and chipmakers. ThePhiladelphia chip index .SOX gained 1.4%.

Only the defensive utilities .SPLRCU , real estate .SPLRCR , materials .SPLRCM sectors were marginally lower.

Among other stocks, J.B. Hunt Transport Services IncJBHT.O fell 4.2% after the transport and logistics provider'sfirst-quarter results fell short of estimates, which pushed theDow Jones Transports index .DJT down 0.25%.

Netflix IncNFLX.O , due to report after markets close,rose 1.7% after Deutsche Bank upgraded the streaming company'sshares to "buy".

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.02-to-1 ratioon the NYSE and by a 2.00-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 45 new 52-week highs and no new low,while the Nasdaq recorded 53 new highs and 14 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila) ((Amy.CarenDaniel@thomsonreuters.com ; within U.S.+1-646-223-8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 9250 ; ReutersMessaging: Amy.CarenDaniel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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