Earnings Boost Wall Street; Apple, Netflix Curb Nasdaq

on April 24 2012 12:00 PM

(REUTERS) -- Stocks rose on Tuesday after strong earnings from big manufacturers and AT&T, but gains were capped on Nasdaq ahead of results from Apple and after a downbeat forecast from Netflix.

AT&T Inc., 3M Co. and United Technologies Corp., all Dow components, rallied after profits topped estimates, continuing the trend of strong results this season.

These results serve as a reminder that while near-term volatility is all but certain, the strength of corporate America remains intact, and valuations remain attractive, said Mark Martiak, senior wealth strategist at Premier/First Allied Securities in New York.

With 153 S&P 500 components reporting, more than three-fourths have topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters Proprietary Research.

AT&T advanced 3.7 percent to $31.74, while 3M was up nearly 2 percent to $88.75 and United Tech rose 0.81 percent to $80.34.

Apple Inc. fell 2 percent to $560.25 and weighed on the Nasdaq ahead of earnings after the market closes.

Results from the world's most valuable company will be dissected after a share swoon raised concerns that a rally of 40 percent year to date was over.

Netflix Inc. also limited the Nasdaq's rise, slid 13.2 percent to $88.27 a day after it forecast slower subscriber growth this quarter.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 96.19 points, or 0.74 percent, at 13,023.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 5.92 points, or 0.43 percent, at 1,372.86. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.12 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,968.33.

The S&P 500 should hold near-term support at 1,340 during the current pullback before rallying again, according to Brown Brothers Harriman analysts. The index held at 1,340 during a pullback in early March and coincides with a 23.6 percent retracement of the rally from October.

Single-family home prices rose for the first time in 10 months in an encouraging sign the battered sector was starting to stabilize, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller report.

Separately, the government said single-family home sales sagged to their lowest level in four months, but sales in the prior three months were revised higher than initially thought.

Also, consumer confidence edged slightly lower in April.

Equities barely moved after the reports were released.

Texas Instruments Inc forecast second-quarter revenue growth above estimates, signaling the end of a prolonged inventory-related decline in demand. Shares slipped 0.8 percent to $31.64.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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