S&P, Nasdaq rise on bank and tech gains; IBM dents Dow

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 20, 2017

At 11am ET (1501 GMT/11pm Malaysian time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 23.46 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 20,499.82, the S&P 500 was up 6.27 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 2,348.46 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 35.50 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 5,884.97.

With Wall Street near record levels and worries over President Donald Trump's ability to carry out his pro-growth promises, investors are hoping first-quarter earnings will be strong enough to justify pricey market valuations.Mounting tension between North Korea and the United States, along with political uncertainty in Europe ahead of the French presidential elections, have also served to keep investors cautious.Intuitive Surgical (ISRG.O) up 7.1 percent at $813.51 after the company reported higher-than-expected first-quarter revenue and profit. The FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent after a 2.5-percent plunge on Tuesday.

IBM slumped 4.9 percent after reporting sales that missed estimates.

The energy sector slumped 1.2% as oil prices fell more than 4% after United States data showed a counter-seasonal build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected decline in overall crude stocks.

Energy companies skidded. Marathon Oil sank 54 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $15.20 and Occidental Petroleum gave up 70 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $62.

US first-quarter earnings so far have been mostly stronger than expected. Gains were held down by the two-day advance of the pound, which has risen against a weaker US dollar after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa called for an early national election in order to shore up her domestic political support as she prepares to begin negotiations with officials in Brussels over the country's exit from the European Union.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 10.7 percent in the quarter - the best since 2011. The 10-year yield fell as low as 2.165 percent on Tuesday; it has tumbled from a high of 2.63 percent reached on March 14.

BONDS: Bond prices fell, reversing gains from a day earlier. Despite disappointing results from Goldman Sachs Tuesday morning, most financial firms have said their trading units did well in the first quarter, and they're also benefiting from higher interest rates. The company said shipments of its da Vinci device and surgeries performed with it both jumped.

Semiconductor company Lam Research surged 6.9 per cent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings and surprising the market with a bullish forecast for the current quarter.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents, or 3 percent, to $1.66 a gallon. Copper added 1 cent to $2.53 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.14 yen from 108.42 yen. Shipping company FedEx rose $2.29, or 1.2 percent, to $185.91 while rival UPS rose 84 cents to $104.94. The euro edged down to $1.0713 from $1.0730. Gold futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-slides-as-dollar-recovers-but-geopolitics-keep-a-floor-under-metals-2017-04-19) settled down 1% at $1,281.40 an ounce, as a key dollar index gained. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.4 percent.

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