By: Alan Denton
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged higher Tuesday after a mixed round of corporate earnings reports and a move by China’s central bank to control inflation.
McDonald’s Corp. gained 3 percent after reporting January sales that were higher than analysts predicted. It was the best performing company among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow Jones industrial average.
Homebuilder Beazer Homes USA Inc. fell 1 percent after reporting that new orders declined last quarter. Avon Products Inc. fell 5.5 percent after its fourth-quarter earnings fell and missed expectations.
The Dow index rose 36 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,198 in midday trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index gained 3 points, or 0.2 percent, 1,321. The Nasdaq composite edged up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,785.
China said after its market closed Tuesday that it would raise interest rates for the third time since October. The country’s economic boom has resulted in higher prices, forcing some poor families to spend up to half of their incomes on food.
Many large U.S. companies have counted on spending in China for growth. Previously, interest rate hikes in China have resulted in stock losses in the U.S. because of fears that spending there would fall.
Brain Gendreau, market strategist at Financial Network, said investors are becoming less concerned about slower spending in China because they are more confident that the U.S. economy will grow on its own.
“Raising interest rates is what the Chinese need to do when they have such an overheated economy,” he said.
Several big acquisitions and a strong earnings report from Loews Corp. pushed stocks higher Monday. The Dow has risen for six days straight, its longest streak of gains since November.