US Markets

Dow climbs more than 150 points ahead of Trump's State of the Union address

Dow rises more than 100 points as earnings season continues

Stocks rose on Tuesday as investors eagerly awaited President Donald Trump's latest State of the Union address while the corporate earnings season rolled on.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 172.15 points higher at 25,411.52, led by Apple and Intel. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7 percent to close at 7,402.08. The climbed 0.47 percent to 2,737.70 on the back of gains from the tech, communications services and consumer discretionary sectors.

Trump's address is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET. The speech comes more than a week after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history came to an end. Investors should be looking for clues on a number of matters, including U.S.-China trade talks.

"We expect an optimistic tone on President Trump's desire to strike a deal, but we remain cautious that these headlines are likely to whip around during any verification or enforcement phase," Ed Mills, public policy analyst at Raymond James, wrote in a note to clients.

The president could also make comments on drug pricing during the speech, as well as a possible infrastructure bill. Some stocks to watch heading into the speech include Fluor Corp, Jacobs Engineering, chipmaker Qorvo and Wynn Resorts, according to Strategas Research Partners.

But while Trump could strike a bipartisan approach on both of those fronts — which would be bullish for the market — the stalemate over the U.S.-Mexico border wall with Democrats could undercut that. 

Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point, said Trump will likely dedicate a good chunk of his speech to his wall proposal. "We believe there will be an outsized focus on the border wall and the president could use this forum to build his case for unilateral administrative action on the wall (e.g., national emergency declaration)," Boltansky wrote in a note.

A trader laughs ahead of the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on February 1, 2019 in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

Alphabet, Seagate Technology and Estee Lauder are among the companies that have reported better-than-expected earnings. Alphabet shares closed 0.9 percent higher. Seagate shares dipped 0.9 percent, however.

Estee Lauder, meanwhile, jumped 11.6 percent on better-than-expected results. The company also raised its 2019 earnings guidance. Archer-Daniels Midland fell 5.9 percent after reporting weaker-than-expected earnings and revenue.

Nearly half of S&P 500 companies had reported earnings through Tuesday morning, with about 70 percent of those companies topping analyst expectations, according to The Earnings Scout.

"However, the beat rates are running below last quarter as the overall year-over-year rates of sales and earnings growth has decelerated," said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout, in a note to clients. "Most importantly, 1Q 2019 through 3Q 2019 S&P 500 EPS growth expectations continue to go lower with some providers already showing negative growth."

FactSet data show that corporate earnings for the first quarter are expected to decline by 0.8 percent. Raich said, however, he expects earnings to continue growing in the first half of 2019. He added the negative estimates are mostly a byproduct of "low-balled estimates."

Disney, Electronic Arts, Snap and Spirit Airlines are among the companies scheduled to report after the bell Tuesday.

—CNBC's Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.