Dow rises as earnings season continues, Boeing gains on FAA software update

Future earnings growth will drive the markets, says Sarat Sethi

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose on Tuesday as the corporate earnings season kicked into full gear, while also getting a boost from Boeing shares.

The 30-stock Dow ended the day up 67.89 points at 26,452.66 as Boeing gains 1.7%. Shares of the aerospace giant rose after the Federal Aviation Administration said in a report an update to the 737 Max software is "operationally suitable."

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3% to 8,000.23 while the  eked out its 12th gain in 14 sessions as the financials sector outperformed. While the S&P 500 only gained 0.05% to close at 2,907.06, it did inch closer to 2,940, a record high set in late September.

"The catalyst we needed to test that 2,940 all-time high was earning," said Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial. "If we continue to see earnings beat expectations, we're going to see a new all-time high put in."

Johnson & Johnson climbed 1.1% on stronger-than-forecast quarterly results. More than half of its revenue came from prescription drug sales, which increased by more than 4%. BlackRock and Bank of America also rose on stronger-than-expected earnings. IBM, Netflix, and CSX are among the companies that reported earnings after the bell.

"We're seeing some serious earnings being reported," said KKM Financial's Kilburg. "That's relieved the market because there was some anxiety heading into the season."

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters

UnitedHealth Group reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue. The company also raised its earnings guidance for the full year. Shares of UnitedHealth rose about 3% before closing 4.1% lower on worries over proposals pushed by Democratic lawmakers.

Those concerns weighed on the broader health-care sector, which fell more than 2%. The decline kept a lid on the overall market's gains.

The Dow initially traded more than 100 points higher earlier in the day on the back of the quarterly results and from dovish remarks made by Federal Reserve officials. Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said the central bank does not need to adjust monetary policy at the moment, noting: "We have to continue to watch what's happening with financial stability issues."

Rosengren's remarks follow Chicago Fed President Charles Evans telling CNBC that rates can stay unchanged until the fall of 2020. "For me, that's to help support the inflation outlook and make sure it's sustainable," he said.

The S&P 500 is up more than 15% this year in large part because the Fed indicated it may not raise rates at all in 2019. This is after the central bank raised rates four times in 2018.

With the Fed and other central banks being "more dovish than ever," BlackRock CEO Larry Fink thinks stocks could experience a "melt-up."

"Despite where the markets are in equities, we have not seen money being put to work," Fink told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday. "We have record amounts of money in cash. We still see outflows in retail in equities and in institutions."

Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Apple settled a lawsuit regarding a royalty dispute. The news sent Qualcomm shares surging 23.2%, its biggest one-day gain since 1999.

—CNBC's Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.