* Two-day Fed meeting begins on Tuesday
* China says regulators will continue buying shares
* June consumer confidence falls to lowest level since Sept
* Baidu slumps after results miss expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.77 pct, S&P 0.91 pct, Nasdaq 0.66 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
July 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher on Tuesday and were on track to break a five-day losing streak as a selloff in Chinese stocks eased and investors shifted focus to corporate earnings.
China’s top securities regulator said on Monday that Beijing would keep buying shares to stabilize the market, after the steepest decline in Chinese stocks in eight years.
Baidu slumped as much as 17.7 percent to $162.72 after China’s biggest Internet search company’s quarterly profit missed estimates.
United Parcel Service rose 5.2 percent to $100.03 after the company’s quarterly profit rose.
Investors are also looking for any signals from Fed Chair Janet Yellen on the timing of a possible rate increase when a two-day policy meeting concludes on Wednesday. No move on rates is expected this week.
“September is possible but the probability for a December rate hike is increasing. I think the market has finally factored in that the pace of the increase is more important rather than the timing of it,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
U.S. consumer confidence weakened in July and fell to its lowest level since September, due in part to a less optimistic outlook on the labor market.
At 12:43 a.m. ET (1643 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 133.79 points, or 0.77 percent, at 17,574.38, the S&P 500 was up 18.89 points, or 0.91 percent, at 2,086.53 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 33.28 points, or 0.66 percent, at 5,073.06.
All the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher with the energy index’s 2.85 percent rise leading the advancers as oil prices recovered from near six-month lows.
With second-quarter reports well under way, analysts expect overall earnings of S&P 500 companies to rise 0.3 percent, below the 3-percent decline expected at the start of July, according to Thomson Reuters data.
However, valuations remain a concern. The S&P 500 is trading near 16.9 times forward 12-month earnings, above the 10-year median of 14.7 times, according to StarMine data.
“Earnings are growing but very slowly. The market’s biggest concern is the lack of top-line growth and where that growth is going to come from,” said Tim Courtney, Chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors which oversees $1.3 billion.
Some of the big names scheduled to report on Tuesday include Twitter, Gilead and Yelp after the close.
Pfizer rose 1.8 percent to $34.96 after the drugmaker’s quarterly profit beat expectations as vaccine sales rose.
SuperValu jumped 18 percent to $8.69 after the company said it was exploring a spinoff of its discount grocery chain Save-A-Lot into a publicly traded company.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,138 to 855. On the Nasdaq, 1,688 issues rose and 986 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed nine new 52-week highs and 12 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 24 new highs and 144 new lows. (Editing by Don Sebastian)