Wall Street notches record closing high on earnings, economic strength



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By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) - Wall Street gained ground for the fourth straight session on Friday, extending a rally that pushed all three major U.S. stock indexes to record closing highs as upbeat earnings and signs of economic revival fueled investor risk appetite.

The S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Dow all notched weekly gains.

"We see a continuation of the last couple days. It's roller coaster in reverse. We did the drop first, and we’ve been climbing back to the top ever since," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Growth .IGX and value .IVX stocks seesawed for much of the week as market participants weighed spiking infections of the COVID-19 Delta variant against strong corporate results and signs of economic revival.

"There’s push and pull, there’s clearly conflict in the market," Zaccarelli added. "There’s a strong difference of opinion as to whether the future’s bright or whether there are clouds on the horizon."

Market participants now look toward next week with the Federal Reserve's two-day monetary policy meeting and a series of high-profile earnings.

The Fed's statement will be parsed for clues regarding the timeframe for tightening its accommodative policies, although Chairman Jerome Powell has repeatedly said the economy still needs the central bank's full support.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 238.34 points, or 0.68%, to 35,061.69, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 44.33 points, or 1.02%, to 4,411.81 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 152.39 points, or 1.04%, to 14,836.99.

Second-quarter reporting season is firing all pistons, with 120 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 88% have beaten consensus, according to Refinitiv.

"We’re seeing companies, on average, beat on the top and on the bottom line," Zaccarelli said. "We’re seeing the resilience of the consumer and that’s been the story of the earnings season so far."

Analysts now expect aggregate year-on-year S&P 500 earnings growth of 78.1% for the April to June period, a sizeable increase from the 54% annual growth seen at the beginning of the quarter.

Shares of chipmaker Intel Corp INTC.O fell after said late Thursday that it still faces supply constraints and provided disappointing guidance.

American Express Co AXP.N gained following the release second-quarter results, which handily beat expectations on the strength of a global recovery in consumer spending.

Social media firms Twitter Inc TWTR.N and Snap Inc SNAP.N advanced on the back of their upbeat results.

Those reports gave a boost to shares of Facebook Inc FB.O , which is due to post second-quarter results next week.

Other high-profile earnings expected next week include Tesla Inc TSLA.O , Apple Inc AAPL.O , Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O , Microsoft Corp MSFT.O and Amazon.com AMZN.O .

Industrials Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N , Boeing Co BA.N , Ford Motor Co F.N , General Dynamics Corp GD.N , 3M Co MMM.N Caterpillar Inc CAT.N , Chevron Corp CVX.N and Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N , along with a host of healthcare, consumer goods and others, are also on deck.
Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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