Stocks Solidly Higher in Afternoon Trading

U.S. equities are seeing solid gains, as the bulls look to sustain the rise today after failing to do so yesterday. Investors remain on edge, however, as persistent inflation has caused global central banks to move toward tighter monetary policies, sparking concerns of a possible recession. Earnings season continues to ramp up as Dow member IBM beat on both the top and bottom line, but foreign exchange affects and soft revenue in its software are causing the stock to fall. Fellow Dow component Johnson & Johnson also beat estimates, but a downward adjustment to its guidance is pressuring shares, while Lockheed Martin is dipping after posting earnings that were incomparable to estimates due to issues with contract timing. The economic calendar reaffirmed recent softening in the housing market as housing starts unexpectedly fell, extending a recent decline, while building permits also dipped but less than expected. Treasuries are lower as yields are moving higher, and the yield curve remains inverted. The U.S. dollar is falling, continuing to come back off 20-year highs, crude oil has turned higher, and gold nudging to the upside. Europe saw broad gains as investors anticipate the European Central Bank to hike rates this week for the first time in 11 years, and Asia finished mostly lower with Japan the outlier in the green.