S&P at 5-month high on strong earnings
The S&P 500 rose to its highest in more than five months and the Dow climbed for a fifth session as solid earnings boosted financial and industrial stocks and reinforced expectations for a strong second-quarter reporting season.
Upbeat earnings from railway CSX Corp and airline United Continental helped lift the S&P 500 industrials index, which gained 1.1 per cent and was among the day's best-performing sectors.
The Dow Jones Transport Average jumped 2.3 per cent, its biggest daily advance in three months.
Although still early in the reporting period, estimates for the US earnings season are improving as more companies release results.
S&P 500 earnings are now expected to have increased 21.4 per cent in the second quarter, up from an estimate of 20.7 per cent on July 1. Of the 48 companies in the index that have reported so far, 87.5 per cent posted earnings above analyst expectations.
"We've been having this very nice rally," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services in New York. "The reason for that is earnings and valuations."
"I think the market would be a lot higher right now if it wasn't for people worried about trade," Kaufman said.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, questioned by members of a House of Representatives committee, repeated on Wednesday that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to a US and global expansion that appears largely on track to continue.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 79.4 points, or 0.32 per cent higher, to 25,199.29, the S&P 500 gained 6.07 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 2,815.62 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.67 point, or 0.01 per cent, to 7,854.44.
Data showed the US housing market continues to be an economic soft spot. Housing starts fell 12.3 per cent in June to a nine-month low as homebuilders struggled with higher lumber prices and persistent land and labour shortages.
Amazon.com's stock market value briefly reached $US900 billion for the first time, marking a major milestone in its 21-year trajectory as a publicly-listed company and threatening to dislodge Apple as Wall Street's most valuable jewel.
Berkshire Hathaway led the financial sector higher, rising 5.3 per cent on news that the company eliminated a restriction on its ability to buy back its own stock.
Shares of Google parent Alphabet edged lower after EU antitrust regulators hit the tech company with a record $US5 billion fine.
Back to Breaking News