Stocks gains continue amid earnings and deals

STEVE ROTHWELL AP Markets Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks edged higher as more companies reported first-quarter earnings. The market also got a lift from deal news. Netflix rose after reporting a big jump in its earnings and Botox maker Allergan rose sharply on a takeover bid.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose eight points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,880 as of 11:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 75 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,528. The Nasdaq composite rose 32 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,154.

BOTOX ACQUISITION: Allergan shares jumped $23, or 16 percent, to $165 after Valeant Pharmaceuticals said that it had teamed up with activist investor Bill Ackman to make a bid for the Botox maker.

STREAK OF GAINS: The S&P 500 closed higher on Monday for a fifth straight day, its longest streak of gains since October. The index has staged a comeback after slumping at the start of the month as investors sold high-flying tech and biotechnology stocks. If the index ends higher Tuesday it will be the longest streak of gains since September.

THE QUOTE: The market's gains over the past week have been driven by a combination of factors, said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors. "We were definitely oversold, there's no question about that," Orlando said. "Earnings, by and large, haven't been worse than we thought and the economic news has actually been a little better."

UNDERWOOD EFFECT: Netflix rose $20.41, or 5.9 percent, to $369.25 trading after the online video streaming service said its first-quarter earnings soared. Another season of the popular political drama "House of Cards" helped attract an additional 2.25 million subscribers.

HOG HEAVEN: Harley-Davidson jumped $5.18, or 7.7 percent, to $72.75 after the company reported that its first-quarter earnings rose almost 19 percent from the same period a year ago. The Milwaukee company said motorcycle sales grew 5.8 percent worldwide and efficiency efforts took hold during the quarter. Its earnings topped Wall Street estimates.

EARNINGS WRAP: Overall, first-quarter earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.1 percent in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago, according to S&P Capital IQ data. That would be the first decline in earnings since the third quarter of 2009.

HOME SALES: Sales of existing U.S. homes slipped in March to their lowest level since July 2012 as rising prices and a tight supply of available homes discouraged many would-be buyers. The National Association of Realtors says sales edged down 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. It was the seventh drop in the past eight months, but the decline was less than economists had forecast.

TREASURIES AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year note climbed to 2.74 percent from 2.72 percent on Monday. The price of oil fell $1.79, or 1.7 percent, to $101.88 a barrel.

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