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US stocks rise on housing report, earnings

US stocks on Tuesday finished higher following a busy day of corporate earnings and a report showing the highest level of existing home sales in eight months.

NEW YORK: US stocks on Tuesday finished higher following a busy day of corporate earnings and a report showing the highest level of existing home sales in eight months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.81 points (0.36 per cent) to 17,113.54.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 9.90 points (0.50 per cent) to 1,983.53, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 31.31 points (0.71 per cent) to 4,456.02.

A flood of earnings reports produced some mixed results, but analysts said the overall picture was positive.

A note from Wells Fargo Advisors said the results to date, accounting for 17 per cent of the S&P 500 companies, were "heartening."

Brent Schutte, market strategist at BMO Global Asset Management, said earnings were "pretty solid" on the whole.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors said sales of US existing homes in June rose 2.6 per cent to an annual rate of 5.04 million in June, the highest pace since October 2013.

Lockheed Martin gained 3.0 per cent as it raised its 2014 profit forecast after beating analyst expectations in the second quarter. The defence contractor now projects earnings per share of US$10.85-US$11.15, up from US$10.50-US$10.80 previously.

Chipotle Mexican Grill shot up 11.8 per cent as net income in the second quarter rose more than 25 per cent to US$110.3 million. The company said it opened 45 new restaurants in the quarter.

But Dow member McDonald's fell 1.3 per cent as it reported second-quarter earnings of US$1.40 per share, four cents below expectations. The fast-food giant pointed to lower comparable sales in the US and Europe.

Coca-Cola reported a three pe rcent decline in net profit to US$2.6 billion for the second quarter as volumes rose eight percent in Asia Pacific but were flat in North America, Europe and Latin America. Shares fell 2.9 per cent.

Other companies to report financial results included Altria (-0.2 per cent), DuPont (-0.9 per cent), Netflix (-4.6 per cent), Texas Instruments (-0.1 per cent), Travelers (-3.8 per cent), United Technologies (-1.9 per cent) and Verizon (+0.6 per cent).

In non-earnings news, Herbalife, a nutritional products marketer, vaulted 25.5 per cent higher following a presentation criticizing the company by activist investor Bill Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management. The market's reaction showed Ackman is "losing face" in his long-standing charge that the company is a pyramid scheme, said 24/7 Wall St.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held steady at 2.47 per cent, the same level as Monday, while the 30-year fell to 3.25 per cent from 3.26 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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