* Merck quarterly profit tops estimate but revenue misses
* Twitter to report earnings after market close
* More U.S. companies beating earnings expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct
(Updates to afternoon, changes byline)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, April 29 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday,
helped by upbeat results from companies including Merck & Co and
Sprint, as well as more deal activity on the healthcare front.
Merck & Co 's shares jumped 2.9 percent to $58.35,
giving the S&P 500 its biggest lift, after it reported
Also, 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.
"We've gone through a fair chunk of earnings and market
participants kind of get the story at this juncture. On balance,
with expectations having been lowered, earnings beats are coming
in around 70 percent and most of the forward-looking statements
have generally been pretty decent," said Mark Luschini, chief
investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in
Philadelphia, which manages about $63 billion in assets.
First-quarter profit growth for S&P 500 companies is seen at
3.7 percent, based on actual results and estimates for companies
yet to report, compared with a forecast for 2.1 percent growth
at the beginning of the month, Thomson Reuters data showed.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91.86 points or
0.56 percent, to 16,540.6, the S&P 500 gained 8.35 points
or 0.45 percent, to 1,877.78 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 28.264 points or 0.69 percent, to 4,102.665.
Sprint Corp shares jumped 10.2 percent to $8.19 after
the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider reported an increase in quarterly
revenue, as expected, due to a new billing plan that lowered
On the down side, Coach Inc reported a sharp drop in
North American sales and the stock slumped 8.5 percent to
Archer Daniels Midland Co were last down 3 percent
at $43.03 after its first-quarter profit and sales missed Wall
The Fed's two-day policy meeting began on Tuesday, with the
central bank expected to again scale back its monthly bond
purchase program. Investors will also be eager to get any
guidance on when it might raise interest rates.
Data suggested the economy continued to gain momentum after
the winter lull. U.S. consumer confidence dipped in April but
remained near a six-year high, while home prices rose in
Shares of Twitter, up 3.8 percent at $42.26, is due
to report after the market close.
(Additional reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Bernadette
Baum and Nick Zieminski)