US stocks higher on JP Morgan earnings

NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

(Close): US shares closed higher on Wednesday as a better-than expected earnings report from JP Morgan lifted bank stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 187.03 points to 17,908.28.

The S&P 500 climbed 20.70 points to 2,082.42, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 58.68 points to 4,554.72.

Shares in JP Morgan climbed 4.2%, despite reporting a first quarter drop in profit to $5.52bn from $5.91bn a year earlier.

The news lifted shares of other US banks. Bank of America gained 3.9% and Wells Fargo was up 2.6%. Both banks report their earnings on Thursday.

Cable and wireless company Verizon fell 1.3% after 40,000 workers walked off the job. Verizon and labour unions have failed to reach a deal for a new contract and the strikes attracted the attention of presidential candidates.

Investors mostly ignored lacklustre US data suggesting the economy had stumbled in the first quarter.

US retail sales fell 0.3% in March as households cut back on purchases of cars and spending in restaurants, the Commerce Department said.

In a separate report, the Labor Department said its producer price index slipped 0.1% last month after dropping 0.2% in February.