(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended in green, buoyed by some upbeat corporate earnings reports amid continued hopes for additional monetary stimulus.
S&P 500 Index added 0.67 percent to close at 1,372.78. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.81 percent to end at 12,908.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.12 percent to finish at 2,942.60.
According to the Federal Reserve's June Beige Book survey, overall economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace in June and early July. The Beige Book gathers anecdotal information on economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts.
The economy isn't likely to slide back into recession, said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee and he sees continued moderate growth. The Fed is prepared to take further action as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability, Bernanke told a congressional panel on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a data showed housing starts in the United States rose 6.9 percent to 760,000 for June, while permits for future building construction declined 3.7 percent to 755,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Economists expected housing starts at 745,000 and building permits of 765,000. For May, housing starts and building permits were revised to 711,000 and 784,000, respectively.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: INTC, BAC, HON, STJ, VVUS, SBH, EMC, VMW, ROVI
In corporate news, Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC) rose 3.27 percent after the world's largest chip maker reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on higher revenue.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) swung to a profit in the second quarter helped by a rise in mortgage banking income and continued improvement in quality of credit. However, revenue trailed Wall Street view. Shares fell 4.92 percent.
Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) gained 6.67 after the industrial conglomerate raised its full-year earnings forecast following stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings, spurred by strong organic sales and expansion of segment margins.
St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE:STJ) retreated 3.80 percent after the Saint Paul, Minnesota-based medical device maker guided third quarter below Wall Street view and slashed its full-year forecast below consensus.
Vivus Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) rallied 9.60 percent after the company's new obesity pill Qsymia won approval from the U.S. health regulators.
EMC Corp. (NYSE:EMC) jumped 9.42 percent after the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based developer of virtual infrastructure technologies issued an upbeat revenue view for the second quarter. VMware Inc. (NYSE:VMW : 90.12, 5.07), an unit of EMC, added 12.07 percent after posting better-than-forecast quarterly revenue and raising its guidance for fiscal 2012.
Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SBH) slumped 6.94 percent after the Denton, Texas-based retailer of beauty products posted quarterly earnings that trailed market expectations. The company also announced commencement of a secondary stock offering of about 23 million shares.
Rovi Corp. (NASDAQ:ROVI) plunged 43.29 percent after the Santa Clara, California-based provider of digital entertainment technology services slashed its full year view, blaming a fall in second-quarter analog content protection revenue, among other reasons. It forecasts a loss from continuing operations for the second quarter.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Yum!Brands (NYSE:YUM) are reporting their quarterly results after the markets close.
European markets ended sharply higher, with Germany's DAX up 1.62 percent to close at 6,684.42. France's CAC40 jumped 1.84 percent to finish at 3,235.40. U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 1.01 percent to end at 5,685.77.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.37 percent to close at 2,169.10. Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped 0.32 percent to end at 8,726.74. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.11 percent to end at 19,239.88. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,185.01, up 0.47 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures rose 0.69 percent to $89.84 per barrel and natural gas futures jumped 5.83 percent to $2.959 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures dipped 0.79 percent to $1,576.9 per ounce and silver futures fell 0.42 percent to $27.200 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.09 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2283. The British pound edged 0.01 percent lower against the greenback to 1.5652, while the dollar dropped 0.37 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.7700.