US Stocks Turn Higher in Afternoon Trade

(AP) -- Stocks turned higher in afternoon trading Tuesday as traders weigh another big set of company earnings reports.

Investors also closely monitoring the latest developments with COVID-19 and its potential impact on a still recovering economy amid the spread of the more contagious delta variant.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.5% as of 12:42 p.m. Eastern after a mostly listless morning. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 174 points, or 0.5%, to 35,012. and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.2%.

Technology stocks led the gains after weighing down the broader market earlier in trading. Health care stocks also rose. Communications companies lagged the market.

Investors are in the midst of earnings season, with more than 100 companies in the S&P 500 index reporting their results this week. So far earnings have been strong, with roughly nine out of every 10 companies beating analysts' expectations.

Clorox slumped 10.5% after reporting results that fell short of forecast and releasing a disappointing outlook.

Solid financial results helped lift several other companies. Ralph Lauren jumped 8.3% after handily beating analysts' fiscal first-quarter profit forecasts as sales rebounded. Columbia Sportswear rose 1.2% after reporting a surprise second-quarter profit.

Activision Blizzard fell 4.7% after the head of Blizzard Entertainment said he would resign, effective immediately. Blizzard, maker of popular video games such as Overwatch and World of Warcraft, has been accused in a lawsuit of having a toxic work environment which has caused walkouts by employees.

PepsiCo rose 0.2% after the beverage and snacks giant said it would spin off its Tropicana and other fruit juices into a separate company in a $3.3 billion deal.

Online broker Robinhood rose 16.5% and topped its IPO price for the first time since its stock began trading last Thursday.

Bond yields were relatively stable. The yield on 10-year Treasury remained at 1.17% from the the day before. Less than a month ago, the 10-year note was trading around a yield of 1.35%.

Investors will be watching closely when the Labor Department releases its July jobs report Friday. Economists surveyed by FactSet forecast that the employers created 837,500 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 5.7%.