- Wall Street re-opens after three-day weekend
- Earnings from Verizon, J&J, Delta in focus
- IMF raises 2014 US GDP forecasts, lowers 2015
Dow Jones: -0.22%
S&P 500: 0.18%
US stocks opened broadly higher on Tuesday morning as traders returned to their desks in a positive mood after a three-day weekend.
It was a quiet day for financial markets worldwide on Monday given that Wall Street was closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
However, while US markets re-opened as usual on Tuesday volumes "may still be lower than normal as there's still a lack of data being released", according to Alpari UK Market Analyst, Craig Erlam. "In fact, we have no significant economic releases from the US until Thursday, leaving traders with only earnings to focus on," he said.
Lifting sentiment this morning was the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which raised its forecasts for US growth in 2014 as it revised its estimates for global economic expansion slightly higher. US gross domestic product (GDP) is now expected to rise by 2.8% in 2014, up from a previous estimate of 2.6% in October.
However, in 2015 it is only expected to expand by 3%, versus a previous forecast for growth of 3.4%.
In another boost to stocks, credit conditions in China eased overnight after the People's Bank of China injected more than 255bn yuan into the country's large commercial banks. The central bank said the move is aimed at ensuring the stability of the monetary market ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday later this month.
Verizon falls despite Q4 beat
Telecoms giant Verizon Communications erased early gains to fall into the red despite posting fourth-quarter profits that beat analysts' estimates. Earnings per share were $1.76 in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $1.48 a year ago on revenues that rose 3.4% to $31.1bn.
Investors were also reacting to the company's announcement that it has purchased Intel's cloud TV business, Intel Media.
Healthcare and consumer products titan Johnson & Johnson also underwhelmed with profits that beat expectations, with earnings rising 37% year-on-year. Profit forecasts for 2014, however, came in below estimates.
Delta Air rose to a 52-week high after surpassing analysts' forecasts with fourth-quarter earnings and giving an upbeat outlook for the current quarter.
Plane maker Boeing gained after receiving an order fromGeneral Electric for 40 planes worth $4bn. GE, meanwhile, was in focus on reports that it is among three potential bidders for oil field services firm Expro.
Smartphone maker BlackBerry surged early on after the US Department of Defense revealed that it will use 80,000 of its devices in a new programme.
Alcoa rose after JPMorgan raised its rating on the US aluminium producer to 'overweight' from 'neutral'. Meanwhile, SolarCity declined after the same bank downgraded the stock to 'neutral' from 'overweight'.