Stocks shook off a wobbly start and ended higher Tuesday as traders weighed another big set of company earnings reports. Investors were also closely monitoring the latest developments with COVID-19 and its potential impact on a still-recovering economy amid the spread of the more contagious delta variant. The S&P 500 rose 0.8%. Health care and technology stocks led gains. Activision Blizzard fell 3.5% after the head of Blizzard Entertainment said he would resign after the company was hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit, the AP reports. The S&P 500 rose 35.99 points to 4,423.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 278.24 points, or 0.8%, to 35,116.40. The Nasdaq rose 80.23 points, or 0.5%, to 14,761.29.
Investors are in the midst of earnings season, with more than 100 companies in the S&P 500 index reporting their results this week. So far earnings have been strong, with roughly nine out of every 10 companies beating analysts' expectations, but Clorox slumped 8.8% after reporting results that fell short of forecast and releasing a disappointing outlook. Solid financial results helped lift several other companies. Ralph Lauren climbed 5.9% after handily beating analysts’ fiscal first-quarter profit forecasts as sales rebounded. Columbia Sportswear rose 0.3% after reporting a surprise second-quarter profit. PepsiCo rose 0.2% after the beverage and snacks giant said it would spin off its Tropicana and other fruit juices into a separate company in a $3.3 billion deal. Online broker Robinhood jumped 24.2% and topped its IPO price for the first time since its stock began trading last Thursday.
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