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U.S. Stocks Climb to Start a Busy Week of Earnings

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10/21/2019 | 04:25pm EST

By Karen Langley and Caitlin Ostroff

U.S. stocks rose Monday to start a busy week of corporate earnings, while investors continued to track developments in the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union.

The S&P 500, as of 4 p.m. Eastern time, ticked up 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.2%, or 57 points, weighed down by a decline in the shares of Boeing after the Wall Street Journal reported that Congress was intensifying scrutiny of the plane maker.

This is the busiest week of the quarter for corporate earnings, and results so far have beaten analysts' expectations. Those expectations were low, however, with analysts as of Sept. 30 estimating a 4% decline in third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies, according to FactSet.

Shares of oil-field services company Halliburton added 5.5% Monday after reporting cost cuts and a better-than-expected outlook. Even with the rally, the stock is down 27% year-to-date.

"So far we've seen the out-of-favor stocks react positively to earnings, " said Olivier Sarfati, head of equities at GenTrust. "But we haven't seen the in-favor stocks that everybody else owns because they haven't reported yet."

Among the companies scheduled to report later this week are Microsoft, Amazon and Twitter.

Investors are also looking ahead to the Federal Reserve's meeting later this month, when the central bank is expected to lower interest rates again, after two recent rate cuts.

Sentiment has risen in recent days after news including the "phase one" trade deal between the U.S. and China that prevented additional tariffs from taking effect. Trade officials from the two countries were to continue discussing a partial deal that could be signed by President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"The pieces are falling into place for an upturn in global growth," said Joe Quinlan, head of CIO Market Strategy for Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank. "This is exactly what equities are suggesting."

In other corporate news, Boeing shares fell 4.2% -- weighing on the Dow -- after The Wall Street Journal reported that Congress is ramping up scrutiny of the plane maker's leaders as new details pointed to undue management pressure on employees.

Shares of drug companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson fell, after the Journal reported the companies reached a last-minute settlement, avoiding a trial seeking to blame them for fueling the opioid crisis. AmerisourceBergen fell 2.8%, Cardinal Health dropped 2.0% and McKesson lost 2.3%.

Cosmetics maker Coty shares rallied 14% after the company said it would explore strategic alternatives for its professional beauty business.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose to 1.794% from 1.747% Friday. Bond yields rise as prices fall.

After a critical vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal was delayed, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2%. The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.6%.

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.80% 28004.89 Delayed Quote.19.10%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
MICROSOFT CORPORATION 1.29% 149.97 Delayed Quote.47.65%
NASDAQ 100 0.70% 8315.523102 Delayed Quote.30.46%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.73% 8540.828717 Delayed Quote.27.79%
S&P 500 0.77% 3120.46 Delayed Quote.24.48%
WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE 1.07% 62.14 Delayed Quote.-9.06%
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