US STOCKS-Wall St up for sixth straight session on earnings, healthcare

Reuters - UK Focus

* S&P 500, Nasdaq on six-day winning streak

* Netflix (NasdaqGS: NFLX - news) up after results; Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) gains on upgrade

* Allergan (NYSE: AGN - news) soars as Ackman and Valeant bid for company

* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.41 pct, Nasdaq 0.97 pct (Updates to close)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Frankfurt: HX6.F - news) , April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesdayas a host of solid earnings reports, along with strength in thehealthcare sector, helped lift the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to theirsixth straight advance.

Netflix Inc surged 7 percent to $372.90 a day aftershowing strong subscriber growth, a sign the trading favoritestill had room to grow despite recent concerns over itsvaluation. With the day's gain, the stock moved to the plus sidefor the year after a 21 percent drop in March.

Healthcare, up 1 percent, was the best performingof the 10 major S&P sectors. Allergan Inc jumped 15.2percent to $163.65 a day after activist investor William Ackmanteamed up with Canadian drugmaker Valeant PharmaceuticalsInternational Inc to bid for the company. U.S.-listedValeant shares gained 7.5 percent to $135.41.

Also providing support to the sector was a deal betweenNovartis (Xetra: NOT.DE - news) and GlaxoSmithKline (Other OTC: GLAXF - news) , in which the twotraded over $20 billion worth of assets in an effort to copewith healthcare spending cuts and generic competition.U.S.-listed shares of Novartis gained 1.3 percent to$85.56, while Glaxo advanced 4.1 percent to $55.30.

Better-than-expected earnings have lifted equities recently,though companies have largely been exceeding reduced forecasts.Profits are seen rising 1.1 percent this quarter, down from the6.5 percent growth rate estimated at the start of the year.

"What was baked into the market, in spite of a market nearan all-time high, was a sloppy earnings season," said MikeSerio, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo PrivateBank in Denver.

"We've had some really good beats at this point, we've had acouple of good announcements today, you throw on the M&Aactivity in the drug sector, at least in the short term,everybody looks pretty excited about this market."

Dow components Travelers Cos Inc and UnitedTechnologies Corp both beat expectations, and UnitedTech raised the low end of its full-year profit outlook. Sharesof Travelers rose 0.6 percent to $86.89 while United Tech added0.8 percent at $119.19.

McDonald's Corp reported earnings that fellalongside a drop in U.S. same-store sales, and its sharesslipped 0.4 percent to $99.32.

With 20 percent of the S&P having reported through Tuesdaymorning, 63 percent have topped earnings expectations, accordingto Thomson Reuters (Frankfurt: TOC.F - news) data, matching the long-term average. On therevenue side, 51 percent have exceeded forecasts, below the 61percent long-term average.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.12 points or0.4 percent, to 16,514.37, the S&P 500 gained 7.66 pointsor 0.41 percent, to 1,879.55 and the Nasdaq Composite added 39.912 points or 0.97 percent, to 4,161.458.

In another positive sign for equities, the Dow JonesTransportation average, up 0.6 percent, closed at itsfirst record high since April 2. The index got a boost fromairlines such as United Continental Holdings, up 4.6percent, and Alaska Air Group Inc, up 1.3 percent, whichmoved higher on a 2-percent drop in oil prices.

Facebook Inc shares rose 2.9 percent to $63.03 andhelped boost the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500. Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS - news) upgraded the social networking company to "outperform" on higherexpectations for the company's long-term average revenue peruser.

Volume was light, with about 5.71 billion shares traded onU.S. exchanges, below the 6.7 billion average so far this month,according to data from BATS Global Markets.

Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by2,226 to 811, while on the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners1,900 to 727. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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