Tech Leads Early Stocks Gains

(AP) -- Stocks were higher on Wall Street in early trading Tuesday, erasing the market's modest losses from a day earlier.

Technology companies led other sectors, with chipmakers among the big gainers. Health care stocks also rose as traders weighed quarterly earnings from Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth Group. The results from both companies topped Wall Street forecasts.

Banks also notched gains, despite a mixed report from Bank of America.

Investors are looking to the latest wave of corporate earnings reports for clues on the health of the global economy and the prospects for company profits this year.

Banks kicked off the latest quarterly reporting season last week with mixed results. Analysts expect the first-quarter results for S&P 500 companies overall to be the weakest in nearly three years.

Tuesday's early rebound for U.S. stocks followed gains in markets overseas, which rallied on upbeat economic data from China and Germany.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.3% as of 10:17 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 59 points, or 0.2%, to 26,444. The Nasdaq composite added 0.5% and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks picked up 0.3%.

The benchmark S&P 500 remains within 0.6% of its most recent all-time high on September 20. Stocks have had a torrid start to the year, after the Federal Reserve said it may not raise interest rates at all in 2019.

CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH: UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurance company, gave up an early gain, shedding 1.4% after beating first-quarter earnings forecasts and raising its estimates for the full year.

BEATING FORECASTS: Johnson & Johnson rose 2.6% after the health care products company's first-quarter results topped Wall Street's forecasts, even after the company said its profit slumped 14% following a decline in sales overseas and higher costs for research and litigation.

MIXED RESULTS: Bank of America slid 2.4% after the nation's second-largest bank reported strong earnings growth, but warned that a key income growth category is running at half of 2018's pace.

(BAS)