U.S. Stocks Set for New Record Highs

By Georgi Kantchev Features Dow Jones Newswires

Gains in consumer-discretionary and technology shares pushed U.S. stocks further into record territory on Thursday.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68 points, or 0.3%, to 21779 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4%.

Major indexes have climbed to fresh records this week as a flurry of corporate earnings reports have pointed to continued strength among U.S. firms.

With second-quarter results in from nearly half of S&P 500 companies, the broader index is poised to report earnings growth of 9% from the year-earlier period, according to FactSet. That would build on gains from the first quarter, when U.S. companies reported their fastest earnings growth in nearly six years.

"Earnings are coming in above expectations, which is justifying the move up in equities," said Jeff Zipper, managing director at the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank, which has $145 billion under management. "At the same time, the weaker dollar is good for multinationals' bottom lines."

Consumer-discretionary shares rose 0.8% in the S&P 500, giving the broad index a boost.

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Technology stocks added 0.5% in the S&P 500, led by gains in Facebook, which said Wednesday afternoon that profits spiked 71% in the second quarter. Facebook shares added 4.7%, hovering near a new high in market value.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 was down less than 0.1% after fluctuating amid a flurry of earnings reports.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell gained 1.1% after the company reported a sharp increase in cash flow from operating activities. Deutsche Bank shares fell 4.6% after the bank beat analysts' expectations in the second quarter, but said revenue fell on the year.

Government bonds pulled back, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to 2.317%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.285% on Wednesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Earlier, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average gained 0.1%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.7% to its highest close since June 2015.

Akane Otani contributed to this article.

Write to Georgi Kantchev at georgi.kantchev@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 10:05 ET (14:05 GMT)