US stocks up on earnings

<p>Stocks were also boosted after China lowered the reserve requirement ratio for all banks.</p>

Wall Street started the week on a positive note today (April 20th) as China launched new stimulus measures and several companies posted strong earnings.

China's central bank lowered the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for all banks by one percentage point over the weekend in a bid to stimulate lending into its sluggish economy. 

Chinese newspaper People's Daily said the cut is expected to release 1.2 trillion yuan (£130 billion) into the country's economy. 

At 10:00 ET, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 1.27 per cent to 18,052.78, the S&P 500 edged up 0.92 per cent to 2,100.27 and the Nasdaq Composite also added 0.92 per cent to 4,977.03.

The market is responding to earnings that are good but not good enough to push stocks to new records, while concerns remain about currency effects, Greece and China, Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, told Reuters.

Strong corporate earnings

"What's helped the market today is the story about more stimulus in China," he added. The downside, he said, is that the stimulus responds to a stubborn lack of growth.

Morgan Stanley posted better-than-forecast first quarter earnings today, boosted by strong trading results and improving margins at its wealth management division.

Its net revenue reached $9.9 billion (£6.6 billion), exceeding estimates of $9.19 billion. "This was our strongest quarter in many years with improved performance across most areas of the firm,” chief executive officer James Gorman said in a statement. “It reflects our ongoing strategy to build platforms for growth while maintaining a prudent risk profile and disciplined expense management," he added.

Meanwhile, shares of toymaker Hasbro soared nearly eight per cent in early trading after the company reported first-quarter earnings of 21 cents per share, beating forecasts of eight cents. 

Revenues reached  $713.5 million, above the estimate of $660 million. "2015 is off to a good start with continued momentum in our business, led by growth in all of our Franchise Brands and the underlying strength in demand across international markets, including the emerging markets," said Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s president and chief executive officer.
 

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