US STOCKS-Bargain hunters lift Wall Street after market rout

Tue Feb 4, 2014 10:54am EST

* Yum Brands reaffirms 2014 profit outlook, shares jump

* Michael Kors stock soars after results

* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks bounced on Tuesday, underpinned by sturdy corporate results, as the market fought to regain its footing following its largest selloff in months a day earlier.

Monday's sharp decline, on the back of weaker-than-expected U.S. data, concerns over growth in China and the outlook for some emerging economies, opened the door for traders looking for bargains. Consumer and financial stocks were leading the gains on the S&P 500.

Macroeconomic events have been a focus for investors in the wake of a rout in emerging market currencies, which triggered action by some central banks. That pressured bond and stock holdings and forced investors to favor assets perceived as relatively safe, like the yen and U.S. and German government debt.

The price of protection against further drops on the S&P 500 dropped 10 percent after hitting Monday its highest level in 13 months. However, the CBOE Volatility Index was still above 19, a level not seen since October before Monday's jump.

"Yesterday was really the first concerted selloff, indiscriminate as to individual stocks," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

"With that type of selling going on, this morning you're seeing some bargain hunters looking for oversold opportunities."

He said sectors that saw heavy selling despite stable profit pictures included financials and retailers, among the leaders in Tuesday's bounce-back.

Data on Tuesday showed new orders for U.S. factory goods fell in December, but rose for a third straight month when the volatile transportation sector was excluded.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 64.75 points or 0.42 percent, to 15,437.55, the S&P 500 gained 10.42 points or 0.6 percent, to 1,752.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 26.566 points or 0.66 percent, to 4,023.524.

Of the 277 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far this season, 69.3 percent have beaten analysts' profit expectations, while 65.2 percent have exceeded revenue expectations, according to the latest data from Thomson Reuters.

Pfizer led the advance on the S&P 500 with a 2.6 percent gain to $31.40 after a bullish note from Jefferies.

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd reported a 77 percent jump in third-quarter profit as shoppers snapped up its handbags and accessories, sending its shares up 18.7 percent to $90.99.

Bank shares were underpinned by U.S-traded shares of UBS and Itaú Unibanco, which rallied. Itaú, Brazil's largest private-sector lender, reported record fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates. UBS swung to a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and announced higher dividends and bonuses.

Itaú ADRs rose 8.1 percent to $13.01 and UBS added 6 percent to $20.37.

Shares of Yum Brands Inc rose 9.1 percent to $72.19 after the KFC parent reaffirmed its 2014 profit outlook and said a resurgent bird flu in China had not hurt national sales in its top market.

Furiex Pharmaceuticals shares more than doubled. The drugmaker said an experimental drug met the main goal of a pair of large clinical trials by significantly alleviating diarrhea and abdominal pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Shares were up 129.4 percent at $105.47.

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