US STOCKS-Wall Street rises as Fed's Williams bolsters rate-cut hopes


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    * Netflix tumbles as U.S. subscribers drop
    * Union Pacific, Phillip Morris jump after results
    * Indexes higher: Dow 0.03%, S&P 0.32%, Nasdaq 0.22%

 (Updates to late afternoon, changes byline, adds NEW YORK to
    By Evan Sully
    NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes rose on
Thursday after a sluggish start as comments from New York Fed
President John Williams further cemented expectations for
interest rate cuts from the U.S. central bank.
    Williams said that when rates and inflation are low,
policymakers cannot afford to keep their "powder dry" and wait
for potential economic problems to materialize.*:nL2N24J16B
    "He's toeing the party line at the Fed, basically implying
that an insurance rate cut is the right thing to do for the
economy at this point in time," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief
investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte,
North Carolina, referring to Williams' comments.
    Before Williams' comments, stocks had been lower as shares
of Netflix Inc  NFLX.O  tumbled 10.3% after the company's
quarterly results, in which it missed targets for new
subscribers overseas.*:nL4N24I3TB
    Losses in Netflix triggered a 0.9% fall in the communication
services sector  .SPLRCL , which has been one of the
best-performing S&P sectors so far this year.
    "Earnings have met expectations, but companies are being
cautious about future quarters, which is something that's not
able to keep the S&P 500 above the 3,000 level," said John
Augustine, chief investment officer of Huntington Private Bank
in Columbus, Ohio.
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose 8.61 points, or
0.03%, to 27,228.46, the S&P 500  .SPX  gained 9.48 points, or
0.32%, to 2,993.9 and the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  added 17.75
points, or 0.22%, to 8,202.95.
    Among positive earnings reports, shares of Philip Morris
International Inc  PM.N  climbed 8.9% after the tobacco company
raised its full-year profit outlook, while shares of railroad
operator Union Pacific Corp  UNP.N  jumped 5.4% after the
company's profit came in ahead of expectations.*:nL4N24J3MV*:nL4N24J31S
    International Business Machines Corp  IBM.N  shares rose
4.9% as the company's quarterly profit beat on strong growth in
its high-margin cloud business.*:nL4N24I3UE
    Morgan Stanley  MS.N  shares rose 1.4% after the bank posted
a better-than-expected quarterly profit. The S&P 500 banks index
 .SPXBK  was up 0.8% after three days of losses.*:nL4N24J2XQ
    UnitedHealth Group Inc  UNH.N  shares slipped 2.2% as the
insurer said on its conference call that 2019 revenue would not
hit its original target.*:nL4N24J3CC
    Profits for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 0.6% for
the second quarter of 2019, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Until Wednesday, there were expectations of a dip in earnings.
    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.20-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.22-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
    The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and four new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 56 new highs and 95 new lows.

 (Reporting by Evan Sully; Additional reporting by April Joyner
in New York and Medha Singh and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Anil D'Silva and Jonathan Oatis)

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