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US: Stocks mostly higher after mixed earnings

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Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Tuesday following mixed corporate earnings news and slightly disappointing US retail sales in March.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished mostly higher on Tuesday following mixed corporate earnings news and slightly disappointing US retail sales in March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.66 points (0.33 per cent) to 18,036.70.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 3.41 (0.16 per cent) at 2,095.84, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 10.96 (0.22 per cent) to 4,977.29.

Earnings from large banks JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo exceeded expectations.

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But analysts said a lower profit forecast from health-care giant Johnson & Johnson due to the strong dollar underscored fears that the greenback will dent multinationals' earnings reports in the coming weeks.

US retail sales rebounded in March from a three-month slump, rising 0.9 per cent, slightly below the consensus estimate of 1.0 per cent.

Dow member JPMorgan tacked on 1.6 per cent as first-quarter net income rose 12.2 per cent to US$5.9 billion behind strong investment banking and trading results.

Johnson & Johnson, another Dow member, was flat after trimming its full-year profit forecast due to the strong dollar. First-quarter net income translated into US$1.56 per share, two cents above expectations.

Freight railroad Norfolk Southern dropped 4.2 per cent following a warning that first-quarter earnings are expected to be 15 per cent below last year's due to lower revenues, in part from a decline in coal volumes.

Google fell 1.6 per cent as The Wall Street Journal reported that European antitrust regulators plan to press charges against the tech giant.

Oil stocks pushed higher on rallying crude prices. Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron rose 1.5 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively, while drilling company Transocean advanced 4.9 per cent.

Online real estate company Zillow dropped 1.4 per cent after warning that 2015 would be a "transition year" following a large acquisition of rival Trulia. Zillow projected 2015 sales of US$690 million, well below the US$753 million market estimate.

Cosmetics company Avon shot up 14.2 per cent on reports it is considering the sale of its North American unit.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.90 per cent from 1.94 per cent, while the 30-year fell to 2.54 per cent from 2.58 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP

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