April 16, 2019 / 2:20 PM / 5 days ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rises on tech boost, robust Johnson & Johnson earnings

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* Johnson & Johnson rises after beat-and-raise quarter

* Technology shares provide biggest boost to S&P

* Bank of America falls as revenue misses estimates

* Indexes up: Dow 0.40%, S&P 0.31%, Nasdaq 0.36% (Updates prices to open)

By Amy Caren Daniel

April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, powered by stellar results from healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and gains in technology stocks, with the benchmark S&P 500 less than a percent away from its all-time high.

Johnson & Johnson gained 2.7% after beating quarterly profit estimates and raising adjusted sales growth forecast for the year.

The results helped healthcare, the worst performing sector this year, gain 0.69%. The index has risen 4.9% this year, compared with a 16.3% climb for the S&P 500.

UnitedHealth Group Inc, which rose after beating quarterly profit estimates and raising its adjusted earnings target for the year, reversed course to drop 1.3%.

“UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson raising their forecast is a hugely good thing as heading into the year we thought we might see an earnings pause or an earnings recession,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

“These companies who typically don’t want to have a pre-announcement saying they have to walk back on their earnings expectations, for them to raise guidance is really good.”

Banks have posted mixed earnings so far. Bank of America Corp declined 2% after revenue missed in the first quarter but earnings still beat forecasts.

JPMorgan Chase & Co kicked off earnings for the group on a strong note on Friday, but Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup Inc disappointed on Monday with revenue misses.

Of the 33 S&P 500 companies that reported through Monday, 81.8% came in above estimates, above the 76% average of the past four quarters, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts now expect S&P 500 companies to post a 2.1% year-on-year decline in profits, which would mark the first annual decline since 2016.

At 9:42 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 105.02 points, or 0.40%, at 26,489.79. The S&P 500 was up 8.90 points, or 0.31%, at 2,914.48 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 28.75 points, or 0.36%, at 8,004.77.

Technology shares rose 0.6%, and provided the biggest boost to markets on gains in Apple Inc and chipmakers. The Philadelphia chip index gained 1.4%.

Only the defensive utilities, real estate , materials sectors were marginally lower.

Among other stocks, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc fell 4.2% after the transport and logistics provider’s first-quarter results fell short of estimates, which pushed the Dow Jones Transports index down 0.25%.

Netflix Inc, due to report after markets close, rose 1.7% after Deutsche Bank upgraded the streaming company’s shares to “buy”.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.02-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.00-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 45 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 53 new highs and 14 new lows. (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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