Wall Street shrugs off Apple result

US stocks climb despite mixed data, weak update from tech giant Apple.

United States stocks are higher in late afternoon trade, withstanding a poor durable goods report and a disappointing outlook from Apple that pushed the Nasdaq into the red at open.

Strong US consumer confidence numbers and robust house price data, released after markets opened, drove gains in the afternoon.

At 0730 AEDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had put on 91.00 points, or 0.57%, to 15,928.88.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 10.50 points, or 0.59%, to 1,792.06, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 8.58 points, or 0.21%, to 4,092.19.

Investors were also seen cheering strong earnings reports from Pfizer, Ford Motor and American Airlines, which offset a disappointing update from Apple Inc.

Apple notched record iPhone and iPad sales, but its shares had tumbled 8% in late afternoon trade after the company said revenue will drop in the current quarter despite a major iPhone launch in China.

In economic news, US durable goods orders plummeted in December by 4.3%, well shy of forecasts for a 2.1% increase, while the S&P Case-Shiller home price index lifted 13.8% and consumer confidence climbed to 80.7 in January from 77.5 in December. While consumers were seen more optimistic about the US economy, concerns persisted about the state of the labour market.

Investors are also watching on the two-day monetary policy meeting of the US Federal Reserve that wraps up tomorrow and President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union address Tuesday evening local time (1300 AEDT on Wednesday).

Meanwhile, there was positive news from Europe as the United Kingdom reported its strongest yearly economic growth rate since 2007 and consumer confidence rose in France.

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