Investing.com - Stocks surged Tuesday as the first big day of earnings delighted investors, but the rally faded a bit toward the close as profit-taking set in.
The S&P 500 finished up 1% and even topped 3,000 several times during the day. Selling resistance at that level, however, kept pushing the index back, and it finished below 3,000 for an 18th-straight day.
The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.24% with big gains in chip stocks . The Nasdaq 100 Index, dominated by big tech stocks, was up 1.28%.
The Dow, powered by gains in UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), closed up 0.89%, or 237 points. The blue-chip index had been up as many as 333 points earlier in the session.
UnitedHealth, JPMorgan) and J&J all reported strong earnings and guided higher.
Healthcare, communication services stocks -- such as Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) -- and financial stocks were the leading sectors on the day. Utilities and consumer staples stocks declined slightly.
Bank stocks may get another boost when Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) reports on Wednesday.
Even Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) got some love, saying it expects to show a gain in net interest income in the future. Still, it set aside $1.6 billion for expenses relating to its fake deposit account scandal. Shares rose 1.7%.
Automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM) rose 2.1% on news reports that a new contract with the United Auto Workers may soon be signed. Some 48,000 workers have been on strike since mid-September.
Meanwhile, reports of a possible Brexit deal in Europe added to the good feelings.
Chip stocks were higher on hopes a trade deal with China will ultimately come through.
Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) and Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) were all up more than 3% on the day. Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) hit a new high of $132.19 before closing up 1.5%.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), however, was down 0.23% and ceded a little ground to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) for the title of World's Most Valuable Public Company. Apple's market capitalization was $1.063 trillion. Microsoft, up 1.45%, ended with a market cap of $1.081 trillion.
Other big tech stocks moved higher in the rally including, including Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Interest rates moved higher as investors looked for better profits in stocks. The 10-year Treasury yield moved up to 1.769% from Monday's 1.753%.
But oil prices and gold moved lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.46% to $52.81 a barrel. Brent crude was down 1% to $58.75 a barrel.
Gold fell $14.10 to $1,483.50 an ounce in New York.
UnitedHealth, First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC) and health insurers Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) and Cigna (NYSE:CI) were among the top S&P 500 stocks on the day.
Cimarex Energy (NYSE:XEC), cosmetics company Coty (NYSE:COTY), food processor ConAgra Foods (NYSE:CAG) and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) were among the S&P 500's biggest laggards.