US stocks rise as Microsoft gains

Published: July 21, 2018 12:02:02 | Updated: July 25, 2018 14:09:17

US stocks rose on Friday as solid results from Microsoft lifted technology stocks and eased rising trade tensions after US President Donald Trump’s comment on tariff.

Trump said he was ready to impose levies on $500 billion worth of goods from China.

Microsoft rose as much as 3.6 per cent to a record high of $108.20 and boosted all three of the Wall Street’s main indexes.

The tariff-sensitive industrial sector dipped 0.17 per cent, led by losses in GE, which fell 4.8 per cent after the company cut its annual cash target.

The industrial conglomerate’s CEO John Flannery estimates new tariffs on its imports from China could raise its overall costs by $300 million to $400 million.

Shares of the world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar fell 1.0 per cent and 3M slipped 0.5 per cent.

The information technology sector rose 0.6 per cent, the most among the 11 main index S&P sectors, reports Reuters.

Microsoft’s blockbuster results powered gains in other technology stocks as well. Shares of Facebook, Apple and Google-parent Alphabet rose between 0.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent.

As the second-quarter reporting period gains momentum, analysts forecast for profit at S&P 500 companies have risen to 22 per cent, compared with the 20.7 per cent gain seen on July 1.

Of the 87 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far, 83.9 per cent have topped profit expectations, compared with a 75 per cent beat rate over the past four quarters.

At 11:37 am EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 49.01 points, or 0.20 per cent, at 25,113.51, the S&P 500 was up 4.17 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 2,808.66 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 30.67 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 7,855.97.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 88 new highs and 25 new lows.

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