Strong results provide Wall Street a boost - New York Report

US STOCKS were buoyed yesterday, aided by the energy sector and March quarterly earnings reports topping modest expectations following worries about a strong dollar.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 59.66 points, or 0.33 per cent, to close at 18,036.7.

The S&P 500 gained 3.41 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 2,095.84 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.96 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 4,977.29, with Apple down 0.43 per cent.

Shares of Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other energy companies followed crude higher after a forecast that US shale oil output in May would record its first monthly decline in more than four years. The S&P 500 energy index jumped 1.77 per cent.

Norfolk Southern dropped 4.18 per cent to $100.49 a day after it forecast a surprise drop in its first-quarter earnings and revenue.

A strong dollar, cheap oil and poor weather in the eastern US in recent months have investors bracing for a difficult March quarterly earnings season.

First-quarter profits for S&P 500 companies are seen falling 2.9 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters data. In January, analysts had been looking for growth of 5.3 per cent.

Those lowered expectations mean that companies can now more easily impress investors, said Art Hogan, of Wunderlich Securities in New York.

“This may be one of most hated earnings seasons I remember. We've taken those three negative headwinds and ploughed them as far as we can into the worst-case scenario,” Hogan said.