U.S. stocks up after profitability signs and Spain debt auction

Stocks stormed higher Tuesday after promising signals about the profitability of U.S. companies and a strong debt auction by Spain. The Dow Jones industrial average rose for the fourth day in five and posted its biggest gain in a month.

European stocks had their best day in four months after Spain, the latest flashpoint in the European debt crisis, attracted strong investor interest at an auction of two-year debt.

Spain’s borrowing costs fell, as measured by the yields on Spanish bonds being traded in the market. In recent days, those yields had risen closer to levels that might force Spain to seek an international bailout.

“There’s no doubt that gave the market a second wind,” Anthony Chan, chief economist with J.P. Morgan Private Wealth management, said of the debt auction. “The market is reassessing and feeling a little better.”

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 194.13 points, or 1.5 percent, at 13,115.54. It was up as much as 210 points Tuesday afternoon. The Dow has had only one 200-point rise this year, a gain of 218 points on March 13.

The S&P 500 gained 21.21 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,390.78. All 10 of its industry groups rose – nine of them by more than 1 percent.

The Nasdaq composite index soared 54.42 points, or 1.8 percent, to 3,042.82. Apple, the most valuable company by market value, rose 5.1 percent after five consecutive days of losses that wiped out about $60 billion in market value.

There was mixed earnings news after the closing bell. IBM, the most expensive stock in the Dow, fell in after-hours electronic trading after the technology company reported revenue that fell short of analysts’ forecasts. The shares were down $4.75 to $202.70. If the stock opens down that much on Wednesday that alone will pull the Dow down 36 points. Yahoo and CSX both rose after reporting earnings, but neither is in the Dow. Intel, which is, fell 80 cents to $27.67.

First-quarter results have begun to pour in from companies, and traders have been impressed so far. On Tuesday, Coca-Cola said its first-quarter profit was better than Wall Street analysts had forecast. Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson also posted strong results.

“This earnings season, expectations were low, and it’s going to be easy to beat that,” said Doreen Mogavero, a floor broker at the New York Stock Exchange and founder and CEO of Mogavero Lee & Co. Inc., a small brokerage of stocks for institutional clients.

Tout JS Macro