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Published: Fri, July 21, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

U.S. market closes at record highs on the back of robust earnings

U.S. market closes at record highs on the back of robust earnings

Wall Street surged to fresh record highs on Wednesday helped partly by technology stocks and after better-than-expected results from Morgan Stanley helped reaffirm optimism about the current economy and earnings season.

At 12:46 p.m. ET (1646 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 17.19 points, or 0.08 percent, at 21,623.56, the S&P 500 was up 2.19 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,476.02.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the energy index.SPNY and health sector.SPXHC leading the advancers. The NASDAQ Composite Index rose 0.64% and closed the day at 6,385.04.

IBM was a drag on the Dow industrials after its quarterly revenue came in below expectations and the stock fell 4.2 percent to $147.53, having hit a 13-month low of $146.71.

The S&P 500 is up 234.62 points, or 10.5 percent.

The Nasdaq is up 77.54 points, or 1.2 percent.

Broad gains in USA stocks sent major indexes to a trio of records Wednesday.

But earnings growth among companies in the S&P 500 has thus far been "much better" than expected, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. The major U.S. equity indices were grinding out fresh record highs after fresh record highs, and traders are taking of their cash off the table.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals jumped 25.6 percent after the company reported positive results for its cystic fibrosis treatment.

In Europe, it was a day of reversing trends, with the common currency coming off its highest close since August 2015 as investors weighed the European Central Bank's plans for stimulus measures and the possibility of a change of tone when the decision is announced. The latest reading was higher than market estimates of 1.170 million. Union Pacific (UNP.N) fell 1.3%, while Kansas City Southern (KSU.N) fell 0.6%.

-The Bloomberg Dollar Spot index rose less than 0.1 percent.

-The British pound retreated 0.2 percent to $1.302.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 19, 2017.

-Gold dropped 0.1 percent to $1,241.88 an ounce. Rivals Verizon rose 2 percent and AT&T 1.3 percent.

Among Dow stocks, Nike (NKE) punched out the top gain, jumping 2.3% as Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight, from equal-weight. Analysts said new capital requirements looked fairly benign.

-Chinese shares led in Asia, with the Shanghai Composite index jumping 1.4 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.41% and South Korea's Kospi edged up by 0.03% in early trade.

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