Stocks closed higher on Tuesday, helped by stronger-than-expected quarterly reports and after mixed inflation data.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 139.40 points at session highs before closing approximately 75 points higher, with UnitedHealth contributing the most gains to the tune of 59 points. That said, IBM shaved off about 26 points on the Dow.
The S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent, with health care and materials leading all sectors higher. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite outperformed, popping approximately 0.9 percent.
Goldman Sachs continued what has already been a very strong earnings season for the big banks, easily beating estimates on both the top and bottom line. Johnson & Johnson also beat Wall Street estimates.
"The key to the market rising more here will be better earnings growth," said Ernesto Ramos, head of equities at BMO Global Asset Management.
With 52 S&P components having reported as of Tuesday morning, third-quarter earnings have shown growth of 8.19 percent, according to data from The Earnings Scout. Of the 52 firms that have reported, 83 percent have beaten bottom-line estimates, the data also showed.
"We've had companies on a number of sectors ... that have beat on the bottom line, so that's driving the market," said Mike Baele, managing director at U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve.
On Monday after the close, streaming giant Netflix beat expectations on both lines, bolstered by international subscriber growth that blew away any guidance. Netflix shares rose nearly 20 percent Tuesday, posting its best day since April 2013.
Health insurance giant UnitedHealth saw its stock pop nearly 7 percent on the back of strong quarterly results, marking its best session since April 2011.
"We're finally in the heart of earnings season, so we now have numbers to back things up with," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "Last week was a false start."