New York Report: Good earnings and drug deals lift Wall Street

US stocks rose yesterday as a host of solid earnings reports, along with strength in the healthcare sector, helped lift the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to their sixth straight advance.

Netflix surged seven per cent a day after showing strong subscriber growth, a sign the trading favourite still had room to grow despite recent concerns over its valuation. With the day's gain, the stock moved to the plus side for the year after a 21 per cent drop in March.

Healthcare, up one per cent, was the best performing of the 10 major S&P sectors. Allergan jumped 15.2 per cent to $163.65 a day after activist investor Bill Ackman teamed up with Canadian drugmaker Valeant to bid for the company. US-listed Valeant shares gained 7.5 per cent to $135.41.

Better-than-expected earnings have lifted equities recently, though companies have largely been exceeding reduced forecasts. Profits are seen rising 1.1 per cent this quarter, down from the 6.5 per cent growth estimated at the start of the year.

McDonald’s reported earnings that fell alongside a drop in US same-store sales, and its shares slipped 0.4 per cent to $99.32.

With 20 per cent of the S&P having reported through yesterday morning, 63 per cent have topped earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters, matching the long-term average.

The Dow Jones industrial average yesterday rose 65.12 points or 0.4 per cent, to 16,514.37, the S&P 500 gained 7.66 points or 0.41 per cent, to 1,879.55 and the Nasdaq added 39.912 points or 0.97 per cent, to 4,161.458.