S&P 500, Dow close at new highs as Facebook starts heavy earnings week

While the Dow and S&P hit new highs, the Nasdaq outperformed on the day, buoyed by gains in Tesla and PayPal, and the tech-heavy index stands less than 1 per cent away from its September 7 closing record. — AFP pic
While the Dow and S&P hit new highs, the Nasdaq outperformed on the day, buoyed by gains in Tesla and PayPal, and the tech-heavy index stands less than 1 per cent away from its September 7 closing record. — AFP pic

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NEW YORK, Oct 26 ― The Dow Industrials and S&P 500 closed at record highs yesterday, as earnings season kicked in to high gear in one of the heaviest reporting weeks of the quarter with bellwethers in multiple sectors poised to announce results.

While the Dow and S&P hit new highs, the Nasdaq outperformed on the day, buoyed by gains in Tesla and PayPal, and the tech-heavy index stands less than 1 per cent away from its September 7 closing record.

Tesla Inc jumped 12.66 per cent to its own new high of US$1,045.02 (RM4,338.50) and breached US$1 trillion in market capitalisation, after car rental firm Hertz placed an order for 100,000 Tesla cars, while Morgan Stanley raised its price target on the stock to US$1,200 from US$900 per share.

“Tesla, there is a lot of the chatter out there today and Hertz placing a big order has created some excitement,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

Tesla, which has risen in nine of the past ten sessions and is up more than 28 per cent for the month, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Also helping to lift the two indexes was PayPal Inc, which gained 2.70 per cent after the payments company scrapped plans to buy the digital pinboard site Pinterest Inc for as much as US$45 billion. Shares of Pinterest slumped 12.71 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64.13 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 35,741.15, the S&P 500 gained 21.58 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 4,566.48 and the Nasdaq Composite added 136.51 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 15,226.71.

US President Joe Biden yesterday held out hope for an agreement on his major spending plans before attending a climate summit in Scotland, while the White House said Democratic negotiators were closing in on a deal.

The majority of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced, with energy and consumer discretionary shares the best performing, as energy names received a boost from another rise in oil prices to multiyear highs on tight supply.

Shares of Facebook Inc were up 1.26 per cent ahead of its quarterly results. Investor fears that like Snap Inc, the social media giant's ad revenue could face the brunt of Apple Inc's privacy changes appeared warranted as the social media company warned the rules would weigh on its digital business in the fourth quarter when it reported results after the closing bell. Its shares rose 2.95 per cent in extended trade in choppy trading.

Other mega-cap names scheduled to report this week include Apple, Microsoft Corp and Google parent Alphabet Inc.

This week, 165 components of the S&P 500 are expected to post quarterly results, according to Refinitiv data. Analysts expect earnings at S&P 500 companies to grow 34.8 per cent year-on-year for the third quarter.

Investors are also assessing how companies are navigating supply-chain bottlenecks, labour shortages and inflationary pressures to sustain growth. Of the 119 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Monday morning, 83.2 per cent have topped analysts' expectations.

“We are obviously in the heart of earnings season here, and that is a lot of what is going on and earnings are coming in better than expected and there was real fear we would see some bad earnings reports because of supply-chain issues and reduced outlooks, again because of supply-chain issues. So far, so good,” said Ghriskey.

Shares of Kimberley-Clark declined 2.20 per cent after the Huggies diaper maker cut its 2021 profit outlook due to higher input cost inflation.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.91-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.76-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 78 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 161 new highs and 87 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.89 billion shares, compared with the 10.41 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. ― Reuters

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