US Stocks Edge Higher on Company Earnings; Biogen Surges

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher in early trading Tuesday following several positive earnings reports from U.S. companies, holding the S&P 500 above 3,000 and within range of its all-time high set on July 26.

The latest earnings were surprisingly good, though a few large companies gave investors disappointing results and tempered the market’s gains.

Biogen soared after the biotechnology giant said it will ask regulators to approve a treatment for Alzheimer’s. The company’s gains gave a strong shot to the broader health care sector.

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Procter & Gamble rose 4% and lifted consumer product makers after the company raised its profit forecast for the year following surprisingly good third quarter earnings.

Technology companies also made strong gains.

Financial stocks were the biggest losers. Travelers sank 7% after the insurance company reported earnings that fell far short of analysts’ forecast.

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Weak profits and sales sent McDonald’s lower.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.77%.

The market is coming off a relatively quiet day for corporate news, though the market rallied over optimism about U.S.-China trade talks. Earnings have been the major focus over the last week.

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This week will be a busy one for investors. Boeing, Caterpillar and Microsoft all report their results on Wednesday. American Airlines, Twitter and Amazon will report on Thursday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.1% as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 18 points, or 0.1%, to 26,810. The Nasdaq rose 0.1%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks was flat.

HEALTHY STOCK: Biogen soared 36% after the biotechnology company gave investors a double dose of good news. The maker of multiple sclerosis and other drugs surprised investors with its move to ask the Food and Drug Administration to approve a potential Alzheimer’s treatment. The drug had previously appeared to fail in studies earlier this year and the company halted development. A new analysis shows the drug met key treatment goals.

The company also handily beat Wall Street’s third-quarter profit and revenue forecasts.

SAGGING ARCHES: McDonald’s fell 2.8% after its third-quarter profit and revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts. The company has been spending more money to promote its delivery options and stores are undergoing extensive renovations.

CHANGING OUTFITS: Under Armour rose 2.6% after the athletic gear maker said founder Kevin Plank will step down as CEO in the new year to become the company’s executive chairman and brand chief. Patrik Frisk, who became president and chief operating officer two years ago, will be the second CEO since it was founded in 1996.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe edged higher and markets in Asia made broad gains. Tokyo’s markets were closed for a holiday marking the ascension of Emperor Naruhito to Japan’s Chrysanthemum Throne.


By AP reporter Damian J. Troise

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