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Dow Industrials Tick Higher Amid Slew of Corporate Results

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10/22/2019 | 03:07pm EST

By Anna Isaac and Alexander Osipovich

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked up Tuesday as investors digested the latest flurry of third-quarter earnings reports.

The blue-chip index gained 44 points, or 0.2%, in afternoon trading. The S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.4%.

Overall market moves have been muted recently even with the corporate earnings season well underway, keeping major indexes in a tight trading range.

With results in from nearly 20% of the companies in the S&P 500, earnings are projected to decline 4.7% for the third quarter from a year ago, according to FactSet, adding to concerns that U.S. economic growth is slowing. That would mark the third consecutive quarter of declining profits.

The S&P 500 is up just 0.9% in October, while the Dow industrials are down 0.2%. Both indexes are within 2% of their all-time highs reached in July.

Biogen shares surged 29% after the pharmaceutical company said it would seek regulatory approval for a drug that treats Alzheimer's disease. Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 3.1% after the drugmaker reported favorable results from a trial for a cancer treatment.

Meanwhile, shares of consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble gained 3.2% and motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson climbed 9.4% after both companies reported better-than-expected earnings.

Among the day's losers, Hasbro tumbled 16% after the toy-maker reported weaker-than-expected revenue. Travelers, a member of the Dow, dropped 7.7% after the insurer added to its reserves due to an increase in claims payments for lawsuits and jury awards. McDonald's slumped 4.5% after it missed expectations on profits.

Later Tuesday, investors will get results from more companies, including tariff-hit Whirlpool and social-media company Snap.

Overseas, the British pound seesawed wildly as U.K. lawmakers endorsed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, but then refused to fast-track its passage by the end of the month. The pound was recently 0.3% down against the U.S. dollar.

The Stoxx Europe 600 inched up 0.1% as Brexit uncertainty weighed on investor appetite.

"Investors want to keep the status quo unless proven otherwise," said Geoffrey Yu, head of the U.K. investment office at USB Wealth Management. "They have learned with trade talks and Brexit, if you try and position too aggressively for the downside, you might just get smacked in the face."

China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% after President Trump said Monday that a trade deal between the U.S. and China "is coming along very well," leading to speculation that the two nations may reach a tariff agreement in the coming months.

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield slipped to 1.773% from 1.794% on Monday. Bond prices rise as yields fall.

In commodities, U.S. crude futures gained 1.6% to $54.16 a barrel. Gold futures slipped less than 0.1%.

Write to Anna Isaac at anna.isaac@wsj.com and Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP 0.85% 2933.99 End-of-day quote.17.46%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.36% 27934.02 Delayed Quote.20.19%
MCDONALD'S CORPORATION -0.43% 193.44 Delayed Quote.8.94%
NASDAQ 100 0.12% 8338.737307 Delayed Quote.31.37%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.24% 8570.658078 Delayed Quote.28.72%
S&P 500 -0.06% 3120.18 Delayed Quote.24.47%
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