US stocks up on strong corporate quarterly reports

Stocks edged up Tuesday on stronger-than-expected quarterly results from UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson plus dovish comments by Federal Reserve officials.

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UnitedHealth, Johnson & Johnson beat earnings and revenue targets. Johnson & Johnson also raised its operational earnings and sales guidance for the year. The two stocks boosted the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

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The head of the Boston Federal Reserve said on Monday that the U.S. central bank should commit to letting inflation exceed 2 percent “in good times,” according to Reuters. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans made similar comments.

Gainers were led by both health care and technology stocks.

Ticker Security Last Change %Chg I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 26440.27 +55.50 +0.21% SP500 S&P 500 2908.23 +2.65 +0.09% I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 8000.945981 +24.93 +0.31%

The gains by the major indexes followed gains in markets overseas, which rallied on upbeat economic data from Germany and China.

The Shanghai Composite closed up 2.39 percent, the Hang Seng added 1.07 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 increased 0.24 percent.

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Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.63 percent, France’s CAC 40 increased 0.29 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 0.72 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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