NEW YORK – US stocks edged higher on Tuesday as investors assessed quarterly earnings, while seeking clarity on President Donald Trump’s economic policies.
With earnings gathering pace, investors are hoping that corporate performance can justify market valuations, given the recent rally that drove Wall Street to record highs.
Profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 6.6% in the latest quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
US stocks dipped on Monday after Trump warned of border taxes and signed orders to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific trade deal. He has also vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).
“Whether it is political, economics or earnings, something needs to show up to give investors another boost of confidence that better times lie ahead,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive officer at 50 Park Investments.
Speaking to chief executives of General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, Trump said he wanted to see new auto plants built in the United States, while reiterating his plans to cut taxes and regulations.
GM and Ford’s stock were slightly higher, while Fiat rose 4.4%.
At 9:39am ET (1439 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 4.39 points, or 0.02%, at 19,804.24, the S&P 500 was up 2.87 points, or 0.12%, at 2,268.07 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 17.32 points, or 0.31%, at 5,570.26.
Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by a 1.2% rise in the materials index.
Among the five Dow stocks that reported results, 3M, Johnson & Johnson and Verizon fell between 1.1% and 4%.
DuPont rose 1.7% and gave the Dow its biggest boost after reporting fourth-quarter profit that beat expectations.
Yahoo rose 3.3% after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue and said the sale of its core internet business to Verizon should be completed in the second quarter.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,928 to 651. On the Nasdaq, 1,456 issues rose and 749 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 20 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 35 new highs and 11 new lows.