Stocks Opened Higher Amid Earnings, Fed

U.S. stocks climbed at open on Tuesday as companies including Aetna Inc.hiked their 2013 profit outlooks and investors looked to the Federal Reserve after a two-day policy meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 42.04 points, or 0.27%, to 15,564.01. The S&P 500 index added 4.65 points, or 0.28%, to 1,689.98. The Nasdaq Composite gained 12.77 points, or 0.35%, to 3,611.91.

U.S. single-family home prices rose in May, suggesting the housing market recovery continued during the spring buying season though the pace of gains cooled compared to the month before. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained 1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, shy of economists’ forecast for a 1.5 percent increase.

Economic growth probably slowed sharply in the second quarter, but its pace is unlikely to change views that the Federal Reserve will start trimming bond purchases later this year. Gross domestic product probably grew at a 1.0 percent annual rate after expanding at a 1.8 percent pace in the first quarter because government austerity and weak global demand weighed on the economy, according to a Reuters poll of economists. But there is a risk that growth undershoots expectations, with forecasts as low as a 0.4 percent rate.

Chrysler Group’s sales picked up in the second quarter thanks to strong U.S. demand for trucks and SUVs, but the company still cut its full-year sales and profit targets after a slower than expected start to the year. Chrysler said Tuesday that its net income rose 16 percent to $507 million in the April-June period from $436 million a year ago. Revenue was up 7 percent to $18 billion from $16.8 billion.

Aetna Inc.’s (NYSE:AET) second-quarter earnings rose 17% as increased membership continued to drive the health insurer’s revenue growth. The company also raised its full-year operating earnings estimate to a range of $5.80 to $5.90 a share from its May forecast of $5.70 to $5.85 a share. Aetna reported a profit of $536 million, or $1.49 a share, up from $457.6 million, or $1.32, a year earlier. Revenue jumped 31% to $11.54 billion.

JetBlue Airways Corp. said Tuesday that second-quarter income fell by nearly one-third, missing Wall Street expectations, as maintenance and other costs climbed faster than revenue. Second-quarter net income was $36 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $52 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 4.5 percent, to $1.34 billion.






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