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Stocks Advance in Early US Session as Earnings Data Bolster Investor Sentiment

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Equities were trending higher in early US trading on Tuesday as earnings gave the markets an upbeat tone to recoup some of the losses made a day earlier.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was higher as Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) gained 2.3% as it reported better-than-expected first-quarter results, raising its guidance for the full year.

But the blue-chip measure’s gains were constrained by component UnitedHealth (UNH), which fell 1.7% even after beating expectations with its own quarterly results. The Standard & Poor’s 500 health care group rose 0.6% while financials were up 0.6%. Insurer Progressive (PGR) climbed 5.6% after earnings and revenue beat forecasts.

Also in earnings, Bank of America (BAC) shares fell 2.2% after its revenue came in shy of analysts’ expectations at $23 billion. BlackRock (BLK) firmed 1.9% after results topped expected as inflows and assets under management grew.

In other company news, Packaging Corp. of America (PKG) sank 8.1% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the stock to neutral from buy. Guardant Health (GH) gained 4.1% after Canaccord Genuity started coverage of the stock at buy with a $90 price target.

Gains in the markets were constrained by industrial production data for March that contracted 0.1%, coming in below expectations for a 0.3% rise. Manufacturing was flat month-on-month after declining in January and February, the Federal Reserve said.

Lower oil prices kept energy shares in check, with the sector lifted changed on the S&P 500. West Texas Intermediate fell 0.4% to $63.16 a barrel while Brent decreased 0.4% to $70.87 a barrel.

In morning trading, the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4% while the Dow and the S&P 500 were both up 0.2%.

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Globally, the FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, the Shanghai Composite jumped 2.4%, the Hang Seng gained 1.1% and the Nikkei 225 added 0.2%.

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