U.S. stocks moved higher early today, the fifth time in six days, amid optimism over corporate earnings before a Federal Reserve policy decision on Wednesday.
Merck & Co. rose 1.5 percent and Masco Corp., a maker of faucets and kitchen cabinets, jumped 8.6 percent after reporting earnings that topped analysts’ projections. Windstream Holdings Inc. surged 24 percent after saying it plans to spin off certain telecommunications network assets into a real estate investment trust. United Parcel Service Inc. slipped 3.1 percent after cutting its full-year forecast.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.17 percent to 1,982.24 at 10:05 a.m. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.21 points, or 0.27 percent, to 17,029.62.
“Earnings have been coming in better than expected,” Chad Morganlander, a money manager at St. Louis-based Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., which oversees about $160 billion, said in a phone interview. “We’re not expecting a massive move within the financial markets. Potentially, you’ll continue to see a melt up in equity prices in part because the Fed will continue to be dovish.”
About 78 percent of companies that have posted results this season have beaten analysts’ estimates for profit, while 65 percent exceeded sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Fed will reduce its monthly purchases for the sixth time to $25 billion from $35 billion after a two-day policy meeting starting today, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Investors will also get a reading on second-quarter economic growth tomorrow.
Residential real-estate prices rose in the 12 months ended May at the slowest pace in more than a year as a lull in the U.S. housing market limits appreciation. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 9.3 percent from May 2013, the smallest year-to-year advance since February 2013.
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