Solid Earnings Drive US Stocks Higher

(AP) -- Stocks rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street Tuesday and pushed major indexes further into record heights as investors review mostly solid company earnings.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% as of 12:07 p.m. Eastern and is hovering just above the record high it set on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39 points, or 0.1%, to 35,780 and is also just above its record high. The Nasdaq rose 0.3%.

Technology stocks did much of the heavy lifting for the broader market. A mix of companies that rely on consumer spending for goods and services also made solid gains.

Communications stocks fell. Facebook shed 4% after giving investors a weak sales forecast. The company is also facing scrutiny over its seemingly lax regulation of harmful and misleading information on its platform.

Bond yields were steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 1.63% from late Monday.

Solid earnings reports helped lift several major companies. UPS jumped 7.4% as higher shipping rates helped the package delivery service easily beat analyst's third-quarter profit forecasts. Hasbro rose 3.4% after the maker of Transformers, My Little Pony and other toys reported solid financial results.

Stocks have been pushing broadly higher as companies turn in much stronger profit reports for the summer than analysts had expected.

"Right now, valuations are high and the market needs some reassurance from corporate earnings," said Ernesto Ramos, chief investment officer in the U.S. for BMO Global Asset Management. "There are still plenty of risks out there, but the market is focusing on the good things right now."

Investors received several encouraging economic updates on Tuesday. U.S. consumer confidence rose in October after three straight declines as the public's anxiety about the delta variant of the coronavirus appear to have abated. New home sales jumped 14% in September to the fastest pace in six months as strong demand helped offset rising prices.

The broader market is also reacting well to signals that big spending plans in Washington and potential tax increases for companies will likely be diluted, Ramos said.

Wall Street is still concerned about how much of an impact supply chain problems will have on a wide range of industries. Many companies have already warned about higher costs cutting into operations.

Paint maker Sherwin-Williams was little changed after its latest results revealed that higher raw materials costs crimped its finances.

Microsoft and Google's parent company, Alphabet, will report their own results after the closing bell Monday, along with Twitter. European markets were higher and Asian markets closed mixed.

Investors still have a busy week of corporate earnings ahead. Airplane maker Boeing and beverage company Coca-Cola will report their results on Wednesday.

General Motors and Ford will also release their results on Wednesday. The reports could help give investors a clearer picture of how the auto industry is dealing with supply chain problems, including a chip shortage that has been weighing on auto production.

Apple and Amazon will report on Thursday. The companies, along with Microsoft and Google, are the four biggest companies on Wall Street by market value and their stock movements have a huge effect on the S&P 500.