MARKET SNAPSHOT: Tech Stocks On Track To Set Another Record Even As S&P Futures Struggle

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq Composite could build on prior day's all-time closing high

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Broad U.S. equity gauges looked set to fight for direction Wednesday, but futures for the Nasdaq-100 rose, signaling tech stocks are on pace to achieve fresh records.

Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 gained 16.75 points, or 0.3%, to 5,899.50, while S&P 500 futures and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were little changed, holding at 2,459.50 and 21,516.00, respectively.

On Tuesday, the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5% to finish at a record (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-to-open-a-little-higher-helped-by-netflixs-jump-2017-07-18). The S&P edged up less than 0.1% and also scored an all-time closing high, while the Dow fell 0.3%.

Investors are waiting for June figures for housing starts and building permits that are due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect 1.163 million starts, after a reading of 1.168 million in May.

"U.S. housing data will kick off with the starts and permits prints for June on Wednesday, and while it's easy to write off May's unusually soft numbers as due to the weather, continued misses will be harder to explain without some economic acrobatics," said BMO Capital Markets strategists Ian Lyngen and Aaron Kohli in a note.

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Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Fresh earnings reports are also making waves, with tech giant (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibm-continues-to-promise-a-rosy-future-while-reporting-a-stagnant-present-2017-07-18)IBM(IBM) , railroad operator (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/csx-shares-rise-after-earnings-beat-added-buyback-2017-07-18)CSX Corp.(CSX) and airline (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/united-continental-turns-lower-after-beating-expectations-2017-07-18)United Continental Holdings Inc.(UAL) likely to see active trading after their releases late Tuesday.

Banking heavyweight Morgan Stanley(MS) is among the companies slated to post results before the open. See the earnings preview (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/morgan-stanleys-earnings-expect-higher-revenue-2017-07-18).

Other markets:Oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-ease-ahead-of-data-that-may-show-rising-us-inventories-2017-07-19) stepped higher ahead of data that may show rising U.S. inventories. European stocks largely advanced, while most Asian markets closed with gains (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-stocks-lack-direction-ahead-of-central-bank-comments-2017-07-18). Gold futures pulled back as a key dollar index rose modestly.

Other movers: Shares in Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.(VRTX) soared 26% in premarket action after the drug company late Tuesday announced positive results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vertex-shares-soar-24-to-all-time-high-on-cystic-fibrosis-drug-studies-2017-07-18) from clinical studies of its cystic fibrosis treatments.

Shares in media companies Discovery Communications Inc.(DISCK) and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.(SNI) look set for big up days after jumping late Tuesday on a Wall Street Journal report that they might merge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/discovery-scripps-shares-soar-on-report-of-merger-talks-2017-07-18).

In other deal news, spices seller McCormick & Co.(MKC) said late Tuesday it has agreed to acquire (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mccormick-to-pay-42b-for-reckitt-benckiser-unit-2017-07-19)Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC's (RB.LN) food division, which includes French's mustard, for $4.2 billion.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2017 06:11 ET (10:11 GMT)