April 23, 2019 / 5:49 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500 closes in on record high after upbeat earnings

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* Dow member United Tech rises after upbeat results

* Twitter soars in heavy trading after Q1 revenue beats est

* Lockheed Martin jumps after raising 2019 profit forecast

* S&P 500 0.28% away from an intra-day record high

* Indexes up: Dow 0.58 pct, S&P 0.85 pct, Nasdaq 1.23 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel

April 23 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 inched towards a record high on Tuesday, as a clutch of better-than-expected earnings reports eased concerns of slowing corporate profits and sparked a broad-based rally.

The benchmark index is just 0.28% away from an intra-day record high of 2,940.91 hit on Sept. 21. The index has surged about 17 percent this year, helped by a largely upbeat earnings season, hopes of a U.S.-China trade resolution and a dovish Federal Reserve.

The S&P and Nasdaq indexes breached their record closing highs during the session.

“As we get closer to reaching all-time highs people get a little more interested. There has been a lot of money sitting on the sidelines and that has been drawn in because of the fear of missing out,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

“Earnings have certainly helped, we’ve seen some pretty good earnings reports and that is helping turn sentiment around.”

Twitter Inc shares soared 16%, hovering near a nine-month high, after the social media company posted better-than-expected quarterly revenue and a surprise rise in monthly active users.

Another big gainer was Hasbro Inc, which rose 15.5% after the toymaker reported a surprise quarterly profit.

Amazon.com Inc, set to report results later this week, gained 2.2%, providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.3% in the first quarter, in what analysts say could be the first earnings contraction since 2016. However, forecasts have largely improved since the start of April.

At 12:57 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 154.38 points, or 0.58%, at 26,665.43. The S&P 500 was up 24.62 points, or 0.85%, at 2,932.59 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 98.52 points, or 1.23%, at 8,113.79.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with a rebound in healthcare stocks, which gained 1.8%, providing the biggest boost. Only the defensive consumer staples and utilities sectors were in the red.

Among other earnings, Coca-Cola Co rose 1.8% after its quarterly sales beat estimates, helped in part by strong demand for Coke Zero.

Lockheed Martin Corp jumped 6.7% after it reported upbeat quarterly results and lifted its full-year profit forecast on strong demand for its missiles and fighter jets.

United Technologies Corp rose 2.2% after it raised full-year profit forecast.

Procter & Gamble Co fell 3% and was the biggest drag on the market after reporting a decline in its third-quarter operating margin.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.04-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.95-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 43 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 71 new highs and 36 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)

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