Energy, banks push Wall Street higher but Intel limits gains

Chipmaker Intel takes a tumble after disappointing current-quarter revenue forecast. — AFP file pic
Chipmaker Intel takes a tumble after disappointing current-quarter revenue forecast. — AFP file pic

NEW YORK, Oct 19 — A rise in energy and financial stocks pushed Wall Street higher yesterday, but a drop in consumer staples and Intel limited gains, especially on the Nasdaq.

Intel tumbled nearly 6 per cent and was the biggest drag on all three indexes, after the chipmaker’s disappointing current-quarter revenue forecast. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index dipped 0.8 per cent.

Oil prices surged more than 2 per cent after a report showed an unexpected drop in US crude stockpiles.

The energy sector jumped 1.64 per cent, the most in three weeks, also boosted by a 5.2 per cent rise in Halliburton following its surprise quarterly profit.

Morgan Stanley inched up 0.2 per cent after its results rounded off a strong quarter for big US banks.

The financial sector has gained 1 per cent since Thursday, a day before the banks started reporting, while the KBW bank index is up 2.1 per cent.

Through yesterday, earnings from S&P 500 companies had largely beaten market expectations, putting them on track to post profit growth for the first time in five quarters. Analysts now estimate earnings increased 0.2 per cent in the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We would see the third quarter as the bottoming out of the earnings recession that we have been experiencing for the last year or so,” said Tracy Maeter, global investment specialist, J.P. Morgan Private Bank in Philadelphia. “But it’s likely to be a little bit noisy with a lot of dispersion across the sectors.”

At 11:00am ET (1500 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 76.12 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 18,238.06.

The S&P 500 was up 6.62 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 2,146.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.83 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 5,247.67.

Five of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer staples’ 0.6 per cent drop the steepest.

The Federal Reserve is due to release its Beige Book about 2pm ET, giving anecdotal commentary on the health of the US economy.

The third and final US presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton starts later in the evening. The stock market had gained on both days after the previous two debates, which were perceived to be won by Clinton.

“The noise in the marketplace around politics can drive stocks in the short term, but in terms of the underlying influence... that’s going to be driven more by the economy and the profitability of companies,” Maeter said.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,949 to 861. On the Nasdaq, 1,420 issues rose and 1,100 fell.

The S&P 500 showed seven new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 37 new lows. — Reuters

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