Stocks ended higher Tuesday as a series of stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings added to recent market strength despite mounting signals that post-pandemic growth is slowing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 198 points, or 0.56%, to 35,457, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.74% and the Nasdaq gained 0.71%.
September housing starts fell 1.6% to an annual rate of 1.55 million units, with permits for new construction slumping 7.7% when compared with August.
"Q3 tends to be the strongest quarter of the year for the sector, a trend we generally expect to continue as we are looking for top- and bottom-line upside to consensus for most of our commercial names (with some exceptions)," Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond said in a research note.
Raymond said he was tweaking some of his estimates for biotech, saying that "large-cap biotech tend to beat EPS consensus more often in Q3 than in most other quarters."
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Report shares jumped after the consumer health-care group posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and boosted its full-year sales forecast.
Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report, however, finished lower as its cautious 2022 outlook offset a stronger-than-expected set of fiscal first-quarter earnings.
Atea Pharmaceuticals (AVIR) shares plummeted after the drugmaker said its developing COVID-19 treatment -- and a possible challenger to Merck's (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Report molnupiravir -- failed to meet expectations of reducing patient virus levels in a critical mid-stage trial.
Merck shares ended higher following a Reuters report that suggested the World Health Organization would lead the purchase of hundreds of millions of COVID-19 treatments, tests and vaccines that could include the molnupiravir pill.
Shares of DraftKings (DKNG) - Get DraftKings Inc. (DKNG) Report edged higher as the sports betting company faced a "put up or shut up" deadline on its $22.4 billion approach for British bookmaker Entain.