Wall Street edges higher on generally upbeat earnings

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial and tech firms gave Wall Street a modest lift on Tuesday following a string of generally positive earnings, with the S&P 500 inching closer to a new all-time high.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

All three major U.S. stock indexes were up slightly, with the S&P 500 still less than a percent below its record as positive first-quarter corporate results gave investors a shot of confidence.

Bank of America Corp, Johnson & Johnson, BlackRock Inc, UnitedHealth Group Inc and others posted quarterly results that surpassed analyst expectations.

“From what I’ve seen so far my feeling is that the analyst projections for the quarter will be beaten to the upside,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “We may have a down quarter but it will be better than expected.”

With reporting season in full swing, analysts now expect first quarter S&P 500 profits to have dropped 1.8% year-on-year, according to Refinitiv data. While a solid improvement over recent estimates, it would still mark the first earnings decline since 2016.

Of the 42 S&P