US STOCKS-Wall Street ends higher, powered by strong earnings, economic cheer

Reuters

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    By Stephen Culp
    NEW YORK, July 21 (Reuters) - Wall Street clinched its
second straight advance on Wednesday, as robust corporate
earnings and renewed optimism about the U.S. economic recovery
fueled investor risk appetite.
    All three major U.S. stock indexes extended the previous
session's gains, placing all three within 1% of their all-time
closing highs.
    Economically sensitive smallcaps  .RUT , semiconductors
 .SOX  and financials  .SPSY  outperformed the broader market.
    "It’s a seesaw going on between great earnings and a
recovering market and concerns over whether the economy is going
to slow down because of the (COVID-19) Delta variant," said
Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in
Charlottesville, Virginia. "But we’re seeing strong earnings
with generally positive guidance, and the feeling that (the
Delta variant) can be managed."
    A rebound in travel helped fuel United Airlines'  UAL.O 
revenue beat, which in turn helped boost the S&P 1500 Airlines
 .SPCOMAIR  and Hotels/Restaurant/Leisure  .SPCOMHRL  indexes.
    "Earlier in the week those stocks suffered because of
renewed fears that travel will slow down and all related
industries will suffer, but those fears have gone away," Tuz
added. "Demand is continuing as expected, I don’t think the
Delta fear is causing people to change their plans."
    Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields continued their bounce from
five-month lows following a weak 20-year bond auction, which 
benefited rate-sensitive banks.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2OX1T9
    "People are comforted by 10-year bond rates, it’s a sign of
the recovery play," Tuz said. "There’s flight away from safety
today."
    Wrangling in Washington over the passage of a bipartisan
$1.2 trillion infrastructure package progressed as Senate
Democrats moved toward a planned procedural vote despite
Republican appeals for a delay.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2OW1TM
    Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  rose
285.75 points, or 0.83%, to 34,797.74, the S&P 500  .SPX  gained
35.59 points, or 0.82%, to 4,358.65 and the Nasdaq Composite
 .IXIC  added 133.08 points, or 0.92%, to 14,631.95.    
    Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, energy stocks
 .SPNY  were the big winners, helped by surging crude prices
 CLc1 .  O/R 
    Second-quarter reporting season has shifted into overdrive,
with 73 of the companies in the S&P 500 having posted results.
Of those, 88% have beaten consensus expectations.
    Current estimates show aggregate year-on-year S&P 500
earnings growth of 75% for the April to June period, a
significant jump from the 54% growth seen at the beginning of
the quarter.  
    Among the winners, Chipotle Mexican Grill  CMG.N  touched a
record high after the burrito chain beat earnings estimates and
forecast strong current-quarter sales growth.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OW38E
    Coca-Cola  KO.N  gained after raising its full-year
forecast.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX2BG
    Verizon Communications  VZ.N  advanced following its
earnings beat, which was attributed to growing demand for its 5G
services.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX2C2
    Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson  JNJ.N  forecast $2.5 billion in
sales from its one-shot COVID vaccine this year and hiked its
sales estimates.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX2A8
    On the losing side, Netflix Inc  NFLX.O  late Tuesday
reported slowing subscriber growth, sending its stock sliding.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2OW2GQ
    Harley-Davidson's  HOG.N  second-quarter earnings release
showed its turnaround plan appeared to be making progress, but
the company lowered its operating income guidance due to tariffs
from Europe, its second-biggest market.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2OX276

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 (Reporting by Stephen Culp;
Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in
Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
 ((stephen.culp@thomsonreuters.com; 646-223-6076;))

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