US stocks finish higher

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WallStreet1234 Reuters. A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

New York - US stocks Tuesday finished higher after mixed economic data and corporate earnings as a two-day US Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting got under way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 86.63 (0.53 percent) to 16,535.37.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 8.90 (0.48 percent) at 1,878.33, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 29.14 (0.72

percent) to 4,103.54.

Some tech stocks such as Facebook (+3.6 percent) and Netflix (1.8 percent) that fell on Monday scored solid gains.

“I think we're still in this pattern of one day up and one day down,” said Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management.

The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence dipped to 82.3 in April, below the 83.6 forecast by analysts.

Meanwhile, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices showed a rise of 12.9 percent in February from a year ago.

However, February marked the fourth consecutive month of slowing annual price gains.

Investors believe the Fed will strike an “accommodative” tone in its policy statement Wednesday, said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets.

The central bank is expected to leave its key interest rate near zero and reduce its bond-purchase stimulus by $10 billion to $45 billion a month.

Stocks have also been lifted by a spate of merger and acquisition activity, Volokhine said.

Higher sales of antidiabetic drugs helped Dow component Merck offset the effects of patent expirations.

Profits rose 7.0 percent, lifting shares 3.6 percent.

Bristol-Myers Squibb, another large drug company, also notched higher profits even as revenues fell 0.5 percent to $3.81 billion, below the $3.89 billion forecast by analysts.

Shares lost 2.1 percent.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber slumped 7.7 percent after reporting a loss of $58 million on lower sales and a $132 million charge due to the impact of a change in Venezuela's foreign exchange policy.

Handbag and accessory maker Coach suffered from an 18 percent decline in North American sales as it reported a 20 percent drop in earnings.

Shares sank 9.3 percent.

Earnings at MGM Resorts International jumped to $108.2 million from $6.5 million in the year-ago period.

Shares rose 8.5 percent.

Yahoo got a lift after a UBS note said the company was undervalued.

UBS cited Yahoo's stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba as a huge boon.

Shares rose 5.4 percent.

Bond prices fell.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.70 percent from 2.68 percent Monday, while the 30-year increased to 3.49 percent from 3.46 percent.

Bond prices and yields move inversely. - Sapa-AFP



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