US stocks rise on earnings, trade optimism

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks shook off three weak sessions in a row on Tuesday (July 31), finishing solidly higher following good earnings and economic data and a report that US-China trade talks would resume.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.4 per cent at 25,414.78.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.5 per cent to 2,816.25, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 per cent to 7,668.08.

Consumer confidence edged higher in July, although slightly more people see conditions worsening in the months ahead, according to the Conference Board survey.

Analysts also cited a mostly positive earnings season, as well as a Bloomberg News report that the US and China were resuming talks to try to resolve trade disputes.

Earnings have "definitely been better than expected," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

"Investors have also been very encouraged by the fact that forecasts for future quarters have not come down." Industrial shares were the most buoyant sector in the S&P 500, with Caterpillar climbing 2.9 per cent, Honeywell International and United Technologies both 1.7 per cent.

Technology shares, the biggest losers during the three-day pullback, regained their footing, with Facebook winning 0.9 per cent and Microsoft 0.7 per cent.

Apple, which will report results later on Tuesday, advanced 0.2 per cent.

Dow member Pfizer surged 3.5 per cent after reporting that second-quarter earnings jumped 26 per cent to US$3.9 billion and the company's chief executive praised President Donald Trump's plan for drug prices and said it would not adversely affect the company's growth plans.

But Chipotle Mexican Grill dived 6.9 per cent following reports of a food safety problem at a restaurant in Ohio, reviving worries about the chain's operations.