(Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose about 1 percent on Tuesday, helped by gains in technology companies and as strong earnings from Netflix and UnitedHealth boosted optimism over what is expected to be the strongest earnings season in seven years.
Netflix (NFLX.O) shares rose 10 percent to hit an all-time high after the video-streaming pioneer smashed analysts’ quarterly subscriber estimates.
UnitedHealth (UNH.N) jumped 3 percent after the largest U.S. health insurer raised its earnings forecast and posted results that beat Wall Street estimates.
Analysts expect profits of S&P 500 companies to rise 18.6 percent in the first quarter, the biggest increase in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters data.
“Being able to surprise on the upside in the phase of higher expectations would be a real sign of strength,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.
Hopes about a strong reporting season have helped divert attention from geopolitical and trade worries, which have roiled the markets in recent months.
“We’ve seen enough pessimism build up in investors as people are trying to look for the worst ... things blowing up from a geopolitical perspective. Earnings so far have been good enough to help leave some of the pessimism that’s out there,” Delwiche said.
At their session highs, all three indexes were above their 50-day moving averages.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. homebuilding