US stocks rise on housing data, earnings

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks Wednesday posted solid gains following a big jump in US existing-home sales and a mixed bag of earnings reports from Boeing, McDonald's and others.

The Dow Jones Industrial advanced 88.68 points (0.49 per cent) to 18,038.27.

The broad-based S&P rose 10.67 (0.51 per cent) to 2,107.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 21.07 (0.42 per cent) at 5,035.17.

Total sales of used homes jumped 6.1 per cent to an annual rate of 5.19 million units in March, the fastest pace in 18 months, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

Dow member Boeing fell 1.4 per cent as analysts focused on rising costs for production of its 787 jets rather than a 38.9 per cent jump in net income to US$1.34 billion (S$1.8 billion).

McDonald's, another Dow component, tacked on 3.1 per cent as it vowed to unveil a turnaround plan in two weeks following another round of dismal results. Net income in the first quarter plunged 32.6 per cent to US$812 million.

Dow member Coca-Cola rose 1.3 per cent despite first-quarter earnings falling 3.8 per cent to US$1.56 billion due to the strong dollar. That translated into 48 cents per share, six cents above forecasts.

Of 103 companies in the S&P 500 to report so far, 78 have beaten analysts' estimates, 15 have missed and 10 have come in at expectations, said S&P Capital IQ.

Other companies reporting earnings included Amgen (+0.4 per cent), Chipotle Mexican Grill (-7.4 per cent), EMC (+3.1 per cent), Yahoo (+1.2 per cent) and Yum Brands (+4.0 per cent).

Google rose 1 per cent as it launched its own US mobile wireless service. The service, named Project Fi, will use Wi-Fi hotspots along with the US mobile networks of Sprint and T-Mobile.

Sprint rose 2 per cent, while T-Mobile US gained 2.2 per cent.

Perrigo, which sells over-the-counter pharmaceutical products such as Sudafed and Claritin, rose 4.5 per cent on reports that Mylan is planning to raise its bid after Perrigo rejected an initial offer of US$28.9 billion. Mylan fell 2.3 per cent.

Visa rose 4.1 per cent and Mastercard advanced 3.9 per cent on reports that China will open up its bank-card clearing to US firms.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.98 per cent from 1.92 per cent Tuesday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.67 per cent from 2.59 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.