U.S. stocks veered higher in morning trading Tuesday, led by gains in health care, technology and consumer-focused companies. Energy stocks lagged as an early rally in oil prices eased. Investors were poring over the latest batch of company earnings from retailers and other companies.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,576 as of 11:36 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained five points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,186. The Nasdaq composite index added 21 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,234. The S&P 500 was on pace for a record high close.
THE QUOTE: With nearly 90 percent of S&P 500 companies already reporting, earnings this quarter have been OK, while revenue growth has not been as bad as expected, said Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management.
"We're slowly turning the corner and exiting (the) earnings recession," Doll said. "The worst quarter, year-over-year, was the first quarter. While the second quarter wasn't great, it was less bad. The third and fourth quarters will continue that."
BACK IN BLACK: Endo International vaulted 24.3 percent a day after the medical device maker reported that it returned to profit in the second quarter. The Dublin-based company's shares gained $4.42 to $22.61.
ON THE MEND: Valeant Pharmaceuticals surged 18.2 percent after the Canadian drugmaker stuck by its earnings outlook from earlier this year, despite reporting a wider second-quarter loss. The company also said it is undergoing a restructuring. The stock added $4.08 to $26.53.
BETTER QUARTERS: Chemicals company Chemours and solar energy seller Vivint Solar rose sharply after posting better-than-expected earnings. Chemours added $1.28, or 13.7 percent, to $10.59, while Vivint gained 37 cents, or 11.6 percent, to $3.56.
RETAIL THERAPY: Retailers were among the biggest laggards. Gap sank 5.9 percent after reporting its latest sales figures. The stock dropped $1.51 to $24.11. Kohl's also fell, shedding $1.14, or 2.9 percent, to $38.23. Target slid $2.26, or 3 percent, to $72.74.
ROUGH SEAS: Shares in two of the biggest cruise line operators were down. Royal Caribbean Cruises slid $2.87, or 5.2 percent, to $70.11, while Carnival lost $1.10, or 2.4 percent, to $45.38.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil prices were headed higher after OPEC announced that oil ministers of the 14-nation cartel will meet next month, well ahead of their previously scheduled November meeting. It is unusual for OPEC to gather outside of its regularly set meetings.
Benchmark U.S. crude was up 11 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $43.13 per barrel in New York, adding to the $1.22 gains made on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was down 6 cents to $45.33 per barrel in London.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was up 2.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 was up 1.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 finished 0.7 percent higher, while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.1 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.7 percent. Stocks in Australia, Taiwan and the Philippines were higher.
STIMULUS SPECULATION: A measure of consumer price growth in China declined in July for the third month in a row and came in below the government's inflation target. The data, which followed a drop in Chinese exports last month, fueled investors' expectations that Beijing will implement more stimulus measures in a bid to soften the economy's slowdown.
BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.57 percent from 1.59 late Monday. In currency markets, the dollar fell to 101.95 yen from 102.47 yen on Monday, while the euro strengthened to $1.1111 from $1.1083. The British pound fell to $1.3004 from $1.3042 after some relatively weak U.K. trade figures.