Stocks approach new highs on positive earnings, economic data

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks around the globe rose on Tuesday to six-month highs after U.S. healthcare companies posted strong earnings and data provided reassurance about economic sentiment in Germany.

Wall Street’s S&P 500 edged higher after Johnson & Johnson beat quarterly profit estimates and raised its sales growth forecast for the year. UnitedHealth Group Inc also beat earnings estimates and increased its adjusted earnings target, though its shares reversed course to trade lower.

“UnitedHealth and Johnson & Johnson raising their forecast is a hugely good thing as heading into the year we thought we might see an earnings pause or an earnings recession,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.7% after the monthly ZEW survey showed the mood improved among German investors for the sixth consecutive month. Britain’s FTSE 100 also strengthened.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index topped its strongest since October, and the MSCI world equity index also rose to a six-month high.

The latest leg higher in this year’s global rally comes as a degree of calm has descended across financial markets. European stock volatility reached its lowest level since January 2018, while on Wall Street,