MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stocks Hit Records, Dow Returns Above 23,000 As IBM Powers Rally

By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with major indexes hitting intraday records and the Dow industrials returning above 23,000 as the latest round of corporate earnings continued to support the market.

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What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 116 points, or 0.5%, to 23,112. The S&P 500 index was up 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,562. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1 point to 6,625.

Recent trading has had a pronounced upside bias. The Dow is on track for its fourth straight daily rise, as well as its 13th gain of the past 16 trading days. The S&P is set for its fourth straight daily gain, as well as its 14th positive session of the past 17.

The day's gains were led by the financial sector, which rose 0.4%, and the health-care industry, up 0.3%.

See:Dow 23,000 marks fresh history for blue chips (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-23000-marks-fresh-history-for-blue-chips-2017-10-17)

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Don't miss:Retail investors see this as the 'best time ever' to jump into stocks. Time to worry? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/retail-investors-see-this-as-the-best-time-ever-to-jump-into-stocks-time-to-worry-2017-10-18)

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in International Business Machines Corp.(IBM) jumped 8% a day after the tech giant posted better-than-expected quarterly results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibm-stock-up-after-hours-following-earnings-revenue-beat-2017-10-17). IBM was the Dow average's biggest gainer, set for its biggest one-day percentage gain since 2009.

However, the stock remains down about 4.5% so far this year, having bucked the overall trend in tech names. The tech sector is up more than 25% in 2017 and is the best performer among the primary S&P 500 sectors.

Read more:IBM earnings beat is a product of tax avoidance, and it's nothing new (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ibm-earnings-beat-is-a-product-of-tax-avoidance-and-its-nothing-new-2017-10-18)

Shares in Fogo de Chão Inc.(FOGO) sank 5.8% after the restaurant chain gave a disappointing outlook late Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fogo-de-chao-shares-decline-as-outlook-misses-street-view-2017-10-17).

Abbot Laboratories(ABT) rose 1.6% after it reported its quarterly results.

What are strategists saying?

"IBM had great numbers, and people think the stock is undervalued. It seems to have a turnaround in progress, no doubt about that. The stock probably got oversold due to too much negativity," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services.

"Overall, earnings are coming in very nicely. Average earnings growth has been 12%, which is way above what people are expecting, though we don't have that big of a sample yet."

What could drive markets?

At 2 p.m. Eastern, traders are due to get the Fed's Beige Book report, which gathers economic anecdotes from across the U.S. central bank's regional districts.

New York Fed President William Dudley and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan will take part in a panel discussion about economic growth, with the event taking place in New York City at 8 a.m. Eastern Time.

What data are ahead?

A report on the housing industry showed that permits and home starts were both down in September. Permits fell by 4.5% on the month at 1.27 million, while starts fell by 4.7% to 1.13 million, according to the Commerce Department.

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

What are other assets doing?

European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dax-heads-for-new-record-as-euro-slide-helps-exporters-2017-10-18) largely gained, while Asian markets were mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-continue-to-rise-as-chinas-party-congress-starts-2017-10-17) as a key meeting of China's political elite kicked off. Oil futures rose modestly, while gold futures pulled back. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was inching higher.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2017 10:59 ET (14:59 GMT)