Wall St gains on positive earnings, upbeat data

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, April 18 () - Industrials led Wall Street higher on Thursday in the wake of upbeat economic data and a string of healthy corporate earnings.

All three major U.S. stock indexes nosed into positive territory in light trading heading into the three-day weekend.

Of the 77 S&P 500 companies that have posted thus far, 77.9% have beaten consensus, compared with the 65% average beat rate going back to 1994.

First quarter earnings are beating estimates, "but not by enough to be a catalyst for significantly higher stock prices," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. "You'd have to hit the ball out of the park to push stocks significantly higher."

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.00-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.12-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 33 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 41 new highs and 71 new lows.

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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