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Stocks End Up but UnitedHealth Weakness Slows Dow Advance

Here Are 3 Hot Things to Know About Stocks Right Now

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose Tuesday, getting a boost from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , which posted strong first-quarter earnings, but gains were capped on a slump in shares of UnitedHealth Group (UNH) .
  • UnitedHealth, the giant health insurer, tumbled even after beating Wall Street’s first-quarter earnings expectations.
  • Qualcomm (QCOM)  shares soared after the chipmaker settled a long-running dispute with Apple (AAPL) over royalty payments for the chipmaker’s smartphone equipment

Wall Street Overview

Stocks ended in positive territory Tuesday even as a sharp decline in shares of UnitedHealth Group ( UNH)  slowed down the Dow’s advance.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68 points, or 0.26%, to 26,453. At its high for the session, the Dow had risen 145 points. The blue chip index’s record closing high, set Oct. 3, 2018, is 26,828. The S&P 500, meanwhile, rose 0.05% on Tuesday and the Nasdaq advanced 0.30%.
Apple ( AAPL)  and Qualcomm ( QCOM) have ended their long-running dispute over royalty payments for the chipmaker’s smartphone equipment, CNBC said Tuesday, coming to a six-year licensing agreement beginning on April 1. The settlement ends all litigation between the two companies and includes a payment from Apple to Qualcomm.
Qualcomm shares surged more than 23% to $70.45 on the news, while Apple shares were up slightly to $199.25.
Bank of America ( BAC)    rose slightly to $29.88 after the Charlotte-based bank said  first-quarter profit rose by 6% as cost cuts helped overcome a soft trading environment. The bank warned  lending income in 2019 would be lower than Wall Street analysts projected.
Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ)  climbed 1.1% to $138.02 after beating Wall Street’s first-quarter earnings expectations. The company reported first-quarter net income of $3.75 billion, or $2.10 an adjusted share, vs. $4.37 billion, or $1.39 a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting per share earnings of $2.04. Sales held flat on a year-over-year basis at about $20 billion.
UnitedHealth Group ( UNH)  declined nearly 4% to $221.01 despite the  New York-based health insurer beating Wall Street’s first-quarter earnings expectations. The company said it earned $35.6 billion, or $3.73 a share on an adjusted basis, vs. $29.2 billion, or $3.04 a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting per-share earnings of $3.60 a share. Revenue rose to $60.3 billion from $55.2 billion a year ago. The health insurance sector has seen steep share price declines amid concerns over proposed changes to the system of rebates paid to insurers.
“The cumulative earnings growth in Q1 for the five largest public companies in the U.S. is expected to decline by 10.1% year over year, materially below the growth rate of the broader market (-4.3%),” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth for Glenmede. “That fact has not seemed to matter year-to-date, with the top five returning 22.6%, well ahead of the S&P 500’s 15.9% gain. This highlights the ongoing trend that investors are still as willing as ever to invest in the prospects of future growth.”
The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production fell 0.1% in March, missing economists’ expectations for a 0.1% gain.