* Merck quarterly profit tops estimate but revenue misses
* Twitter to report earnings after market close
* EU sanctions 15 politicians, military leaders over Ukraine
* Indexes up: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.5 pct
(Updates to late morning session)
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 29 U.S. stocks edged higher on
Tuesday following better-than-expected earnings from Merck & Co
and Sprint Corp.
The Dow Jones industrial average outperformed the broader
market as component Merck & Co 's shares jumped nearly 3
percent to $58.31 after its earnings report.
Britain's Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc confirmed talks to
buy Merck's consumer health business, the latest asset up for
grabs in a wave of recent pharmaceutical deals.
On the S&P, energy and financial stocks were among the top
gainers, with the energy sector up 1.2 percent and the
financial sector up 0.6 percent.
Sprint Corp shares jumped more than 10 percent to
$8.18 after the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider reported an increase
in quarterly revenue, as expected, due to a new billing plan
that lowered wireless expenses.
But Coach Inc reported a sharp drop in North
American sales as the upscale leather goods maker continued to
lose ground to fast-growing rivals in the U.S. handbags market.
The stock slumped more than 8.5 percent to $46.15 and weighed on
the S&P retail sector which fell 0.2 percent.
Archer Daniels Midland Co shares fell 3.4 percent to
$42.87 after its first-quarter profit and sales missed Wall
Twitter is due to report after the market closes
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74.85 points or
0.46 percent, to 16,523.59, the S&P 500 gained 7.13
points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,876.56 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 18.691 points, or 0.46 percent, to 4,093.092.
"The market has grown more volatile, in a sense that it
reacts more to daily news like the earnings. In general, the
market is trying to figure out a level that investors are
comfortable with and that is why we are seeing big daily swings
recently," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital
Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The Fed starts a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday and is
expected to again scale back its monthly bond purchase program
and provide guidance on when it might raise interest rates.
Data showed U.S. consumer confidence dipped in April but
remained near a six-year high, while home prices rose in
February, suggesting the economy continued to gain momentum
after a winter lull.
The Conference Board said its index of consumer attitudes
dipped to 82.3, the second-highest reading since January 2008,
from an upwardly revised 83.9 in March.
"While the news is hardly a harbinger of gloom, the critical
employment measures hidden within the report show little
evidence that the labor market is on the cusp of a boom anytime
soon," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at
Interactive Brokers LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)