S&P 500 posts best close since February as tech rises


By Fred Imbert and Alexandra Gibbs, CNBC

The S&P 500 closed at its highest level since February as investors largely shrugged off mixed quarterly results from some of the largest U.S. banks.

[post_ads]The broad index climbed 0.1 percent and broke above 2,800 for the first time since March. Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft also hit record highs, pushing the index higher.

"2,800 has been a significant level both mentally and technically for the market," said Jeff Kilburg, the CEO of KKM Financial. "I think this will be a short-lived move above 2,800, however," as trade concerns and corporate earnings releases keep gains at bay.

The Dow gained 94 points, with United Technologies and Walgreens Boots Alliance outperforming. The Nasdaq was little changed as Cisco Systems lost more than 4 percent.

Some of the major U.S. banks reported earnings before the open. J.P. Morgan Chase posted better-than-expected earnings and sales, as its trading revenue rose 13 percent in the second quarter on a year-over-year basis. Citigroup, meanwhile, posted a stronger-than-expected profit but its revenue for the quarter missed. J.P. Morgan Chase slipped 0.3 percent, while Citigroup dropped more than 1.5 percent.

Wells Fargo’s earnings and revenue both missed as its fake-account scandal is still taking a toll on the company. The bank also said a tax hit of $481 million also pressured the results. Shares of Wells Fargo fell 0.8 percent.

Just over 5 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported second-quarter results thus far. These companies have posted earnings growth of 16.37 percent. However, analysts polled by FactSet expect second-quarter earnings to have grown by 20 percent.

Jeremy Klein, a chief market strategist at FBN Securities, said the “response to the earnings announcements from three of America’s biggest money center banks seemingly hints at an uneven upcoming reporting season,” He also added, however, that ”if companies can maintain their extremely elevated profit forecasts for the next several quarters, then stocks should enjoy a stiff tailwind at their backs.“

Stocks are on track to post strong weekly gains, with the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all up more than 1 percent in the time period. The major indexes have risen as concerns over a trade war between the U.S. and China have eased.
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Earlier this week, the U.S. unveiled tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. However, a lack of response from China to these levies has assuaged some fears of conflict escalation.

"Investors are looking past a lot of the global headlines and into the earnings reports," said Jack Ablin, a founding partner of Cresset Wealth.

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Business - U.S. Daily News: S&P 500 posts best close since February as tech rises
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