A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)  

Earnings Spur Stocks as Trade Woes Take Back Seat: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rallied for a second day amid better-than-expected earnings from industry heavyweights, adding to evidence that the strengthening economy is lifting corporate profits.

The S&P 500 Index rose to the highest in four weeks as the benchmark pushed through its average price for the past 100 days, a level it hasn’t crossed in a month. Netflix Inc. surged after subscriber growth topped estimates, helping to drive gains in technology shares, and UnitedHealth Group Inc. climbed after reporting strong results.

The spate of earnings overshadowed renewed machinations on the trade front, where China retaliated for the U.S.’s hit on ZTE Corp. with agricultural duties. The world’s second-largest economy also said it will ease access to its market, boosting automakers from Volkswagen AG to Tesla Inc.

Earnings Spur Stocks as Trade Woes Take Back Seat: Markets Wrap

“Markets have tended to rally during earnings season and I think some of that optimism, some of the sentiment is coming through the market right now,” Matt Forester, chief investment officer who helps oversee $7.9 billion at Lockwood Advisors Inc. in King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania, said by phone. “We went into Friday night with missiles flying into Syria and a lot of political news, and here we are Tuesday afternoon and nobody is even thinking about that anymore. It’s off the front page already.”

The dollar largely shrugged off President Donald Trump’s latest intervention in currencies. The jawboning comes at a time of already elevated geopolitical tension, and ongoing fears of a lurch toward global protectionism. Meanwhile a slew of Federal Reserve officials is due to speak this week. Treasury yields edged lower and West Texas crude traded near $66 a barrel.

Elsewhere, U.K. wage growth including bonuses missed estimates and a survey showed German investor confidence tumbling, undermining both the pound and euro.

Terminal users can read more in our markets live blog.

Here’s what to watch out for this week:

  • Morgan Stanley is among companies reporting results this week.
  • Trump welcomes Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. North Korea and trade will probably be discussed.
  • Mining investors will get to take the pulse of the global industry this week, with Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton offering quarterly production reports.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index increased 1.1 percent to 2,706.38 as of 4 p.m. New York time, the highest in more than three weeks.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.7 percent, the biggest rise in a week.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.8 percent, the highest in seven weeks.
  • The MSCI All-Country World Index climbed 0.8 percent to the highest in almost four weeks.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index rose 0.1 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.1 percent.
  • The euro fell 0.1 percent to $1.2371.
  • The British pound declined 0.4 percent to $1.4285, the first retreat in more than a week.
  • The Japanese yen rose 0.1 percent to 107.01 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 2.812 percent.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield decreased two basis points to 0.51 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield dipped three basis points to 1.436 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.4 percent to $66.46 a barrel.
  • Copper declined 0.4 percent to $3.08 a pound.
  • Gold was little changed at $1,347.38 an ounce.

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