Stocks Open Higher After Hitting Fresh Records

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U.S. share benchmarks crept higher after major indexes hit records a day earlier and investors readied for a slew of blue-chip earnings.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2% after notching a record high Monday. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index edged 0.3% higher and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.3%, or 78 points.

This week marks the height of earnings season, with shares of

General Electric

rallying 9% after the industrial conglomerate reported forecast-beating fourth-quarter revenue and free cash flow.

Johnson & Johnson

rose 2% after it recorded stronger sales in its latest quarter, as revenue gains from its pharmaceutical division boosted its top-line results.

Raytheon Technologies

rose 4% after the aerospace and defense company reported fourth-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations.

Starbucks,

Microsoft

and

Texas Instruments

will release results after markets close. Major tech firms, including

Apple,

Tesla and

Facebook,

will update investors Wednesday.

Investors will watch to see if earnings can continue to top analysts’ expectations, providing a further catalyst to push markets higher.

“What’s working in the market’s favor is the overall trend of economic growth is still robust and that’s likely to translate to positive earnings,” said Shoqat Bunglawala, head of multiasset solutions, international, at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “There’s an expectation that there’s going to be more robust growth driven by pent up demand in the second half of the year.”

Shares of

GameStop

rose 11% as individual traders, propelled by social media, piled into the stock. Shares swung wildly Monday and have gained more than 300% this year, in the latest sign that frenetic trading by retail traders is leading to outsize market swings.

Software and services firm

BlackBerry,

another favorite among individual traders, gained 8.2% premarket.

Etsy

rose 4% after Tesla Chief Executive

Elon Musk

tweeted “I kinda love Etsy.”

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note ticked up to 1.047% from 1.038% Monday. Yields rise when prices fall.

At 10 a.m. ET, The Conference Board is due to release its index of consumer confidence, which will show whether U.S. consumers’ outlook on the economy improved or deteriorated in January.

U.S. home-price growth continued to accelerate toward the end of 2020, data out Tuesday showed. In the year to November, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas, rose 9.5%.

The pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 1%. Shares of

UBS Group

rose 1.9% after the Swiss bank announced a new buyback program of up to $4.5 billion, having closed 2020 with a consensus-beating quarterly performance.

Travel and transportation stocks were hit hard on concerns about the speed of vaccine rollouts and the timing of some countries’ reopenings. Jet-engine maker

Rolls-Royce

was down 1.3% at its lowest level of the year.

Indexes in Asia handed back some of the robust gains registered in the first few weeks of this year. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong dropped 2.6%, as heavyweight

Tencent Holdings

fell 6.3%, retreating from a record high reached in the previous session. The Shanghai Composite shed 1.5%, the Nikkei 225 retreated 1% and South Korea’s Kospi Composite lost 2.1%.

In a surprise move, the People’s Bank of China withdrew 78 billion yuan, or the equivalent of $12 billion, from the Chinese financial system through open-market operations Tuesday. The move runs counter to expectations in the run-up to the Lunar New Year holidays, when China’s banking system usually needs more, not less, liquidity.

If earnings continue to top expectations, they could provide a further catalyst to markets.



Photo:

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Write to Caitlin Ostroff at caitlin.ostroff@wsj.com and Joanne Chiu at joanne.chiu@wsj.com

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