Solid Earnings Push Stocks Up

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are opening higher Tuesday as most industries, including technology and health care companies, start the day with solid gains. Major indexes are on track for more record highs. Solid quarterly reports are boosting companies including medical device maker Medtronic and Spam maker Hormel, while Signet Jewelers is tumbling.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,596 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 137 points, or 0.6 percent, to 23,567. The Nasdaq composite added 57 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,847. All three indexes are on track to break the records they set earlier this month. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose for a fourth day and picked up 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,513. That's slightly above its record close from early October.

Technology companies made the biggest gains, including Apple, which rose $2.90, or 1.7 percent, to $172.87, while health care and basic materials companies also rose. Utilities and real estate investment trusts, which are considered safer, more stable investments, made small gains but lagged the rest of the market.

HEART BEAT: Medical device company Medtronic jumped after it posted profit that was larger than analysts had expected. The company said sales of heart devices including newer devices like its CoreValve Evolut Pro heart valve, drove its sales higher in the fiscal second quarter. The stock rose $3.88, or 4.9 percent, to $82.78.

THEY DO LIKE SPAM: Food maker Hormel climbed after its quarterly profit and sales came out ahead of Wall Street projections. So did the company's forecasts for the rest of the year. The stock climbed $1.55, or 4.6 percent, to $34.95.

TARNISHED: Signet Jewelers plunged $20.42, or 26.9 percent, to $55.42 after the company slashed its annual forecast because of problems related to the sale of its credit portfolio. In October Signet sold its highest-quality loans to Alliance Data Systems for $1 billion, but the company said "disruptions" related to that move have affected sales, especially for its Kay brand.

Companies that made deals to provide credit services for Signet also lost. Alliance Data Systems, which operates Signet-branded credit cards, gave up $4.01, or 1.8 percent, to $220.66. Aaron's, which is running a lease-payment program for other Signet customers, fell 65 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $36.09.

NUTS TO SOUP: Campbell Soup's profit and sales both fell a bit short of analysts' forecasts. The company reported a 9 percent drop in soup revenue and said carrot costs increased. It also faced greater logistics costs in the aftermath of the hurricanes. The stock shed $3.77, or 7.6 percent, to $46.16.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.34 percent from 2.37 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil climbed 56 cents, or 1 percent, to $56.98 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, the international standard, added 43 cents to $62.65 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.23 yen from 112.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.1738 from $1.1732.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX was up 1.1 percent and the CAC 40 of France CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain rose 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1.9 percent, its biggest gain in two months.

(BE)