U.S. Stocks On Track for Monthly Gains

By Riva Gold and Alexander Osipovich Features Dow Jones Newswires

S&P 500, Dow, Nasdaq on track for monthly gains

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-- Tech sector retreats, weighing on Nasdaq

-- Weak dollar hits European and Japanese markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its gains Monday, after a series of strong corporate results propelled the blue-chip index to a record at the end of last week.

The Dow industrials gained 78 points, or 0.4%, to 21908 around midday. The S&P 500 was little changed, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.4%, dragged down by a decline in technology stocks.

Facebook fell 1.6%, after hitting a record high last week. Alphabet, the parent of Google, was down 1.5% in recent trading. Tech stocks in the S&P 500 fell 0.5%.

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Still, the Nasdaq is on track to end July around 3.4% higher. The Dow is up about 2.6% for the month, while the S&P has gained about 2%.

Corporate earnings reports have been broadly supportive of stock markets in July, particularly in the U.S. Large U.S. companies are on pace to post two consecutive quarters of double-digit profit growth for the first time since 2011, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

"Improved earnings have been the main driver" of July's gains, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors. "A lot of other stuff is just noise: the turmoil in D.C., the political events that flare up from time to time."

Shares of Charter Communications were up roughly 5%, among the best performers in the S&P 500, after it said it wasn't interested in acquiring Sprint. Shares of Discovery Communications fell more than 8% after it agreed to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive in a deal valued at about $11.9 billion.

The Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.1%. European stocks have largely stalled this month amid a stronger euro. The common currency has climbed 2.8% against the U.S. dollar this month through Friday, and was recently stronger at $1.1815 after data showed the eurozone unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than eight years while the annual rate of inflation remained unchanged.

The dollar has also weakened around 1.5% against the Japanese yen this month through Friday, helping send Japan's Nikkei Stock Average to its worst monthly performance since March.

Other major Asian stock markets climbed Monday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.3% amid gains in technology companies and banks, ending the month around 6.1% higher. The index hasn't logged a monthly decline this year, its longest winning streak since 2007.

In government bonds, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury note was little changed at 2.294%, according to Tradeweb, compared with 2.291% on Friday. Yields rise as prices fall.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com and Alexander Osipovich at alexander.osipovich@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2017 12:48 ET (16:48 GMT)