Earnings Send Wall St Higher as Investors Eye State of the Union Speech

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as largely upbeat corporate results fueled investor optimism ahead of the highly awaited State of the Union address by President Donald Trump.

Shares of Estée Lauder Cos Inc rose 11.6 percent after the cosmetics maker’s quarterly results, driven by strong growth in China, topped estimates. Estée Lauder shares had the largest percentage gain among S&P 500 companies.

Luxury fashion company Ralph Lauren Corp also reported better-than-expected sales and earnings, sending its shares 8.4 percent higher.

Shares of Alphabet Inc reversed course to end 0.9 percent higher. The Google parent company’s results beat estimates, but its shares were dragged down earlier in the session by sharply higher spending.

Optimism toward the prospect of a lasting resolution to the dispute over border wall funding, which prompted a record 35-day partial U.S. government shutdown, also buoyed Wall Street, said Tony Roth, chief investment officer of Wilmington Trust in Wilmington, Delaware.

In his State of the Union speech, scheduled for 09:00 p.m. EST (0200 GMT Wednesday), Trump is expected to urge a congressional committee to work out a border security deal. His speech likely will target areas for potential bipartisan agreement, such as improving infrastructure and lowering prescription drug costs.

“The market doesn’t care if the wall gets built or if it’s never built,” Roth said. “All it cares about is that confidence and GDP aren’t negatively impacted as a result of a government shutdown.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 172.15 points, or 0.68 percent, to 25,411.52, the S&P 500 gained 12.83 points, or 0.47 percent, to 2,737.7 and the Nasdaq Composite added 54.55 points, or 0.74 percent, to 7,402.08.

The CBOE Volatility index, often referred to as an investor fear gauge, dropped 0.16 point to finish at 15.57, its lowest close in four months.

Following a turbulent end to 2018, U.S.

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