July 23, 2019 / 5:16 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Upbeat earnings from Coca-Cola, United Tech lift Wall Street

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* Coca-Cola gains on profit beat, forecast raise

* United Tech gains on quarterly profit beat

* Trump, U.S. Congress leaders reach deal on debt limit

* Indexes up: Dow 0.20%, S&P 0.25%, Nasdaq 0.03% (Updates to afternoon)

By Amy Caren Daniel

July 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, boosted by upbeat earnings and forecasts from Coca-Cola and United Technologies, while a two-year debt ceiling and budget deal between President Donald Trump and Congress buoyed sentiment.

The U.S. corporate earnings season is off to a strong start, with nearly 80% of the 104 S&P 500 companies topping earnings expectations in the second quarter.

United Technologies Corp gained 0.3%, after raising its full-year profit and sales outlook.

Fellow Dow component Coca-Cola Co shares rose as much as 5.8%, to hit a record high, after the fizzy drink maker beat quarterly earnings expectations and raised its full-year organic revenue forecast.

“Coca-Cola posting very robust results is very encouraging and raises the prospects of stocks being able to perform in a changing environment,” said Mike Loewengart, vice-president of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial in New York.

“The reaching of a debt ceiling agreement is positive news for all sectors at large, because it’s one additional question that gets removed from the outlook for growth and equities in general.”

The deal will help avert a feared government default later this year, but add to rising budget deficits.

The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for global growth this year and next, warning that more U.S.-China tariffs, auto tariffs or a disorderly Brexit could slow growth further.

Hopes that the Federal Reserve will cut rates at its policy-setting meeting next week to counter a slowing global economy have helped Wall Street’s main indexes scale new record levels and put the S&P 500 just about 1% shy of its all-time high.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to signal easier monetary policy when it meets on Thursday.

At 12:34 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 55.41 points, or 0.20%, at 27,227.31, the S&P 500 was up 7.51 points, or 0.25%, at 2,992.54. The Nasdaq Composite was up 2.19 points, or 0.03%, at 8,206.33.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are now expected to rise about 1% in the second quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data, improving from a small decline estimated previously.

The financial sector rose 0.92%, and gave the biggest boost to markets, while the banking index rallied 1.66%.

The interest rate sensitive stocks likely got a boost from rising yields on the benchmark 10-year notes.

Travelers Cos Inc fell 2.3% after the insurer’s second-quarter profit missed estimates, as weather-related losses led to an 18% drop in underwriting gain.

Hasbro Inc jumped 8.8% and was the biggest gainer among S&P 500 companies, after the toymaker reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue.]

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.10-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 37 new highs and 97 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Karina Dsouza; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva)

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