MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Climbs To Records As Financials Rally

By Victor Reklaitis and Mark DeCambre, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Qualcomm's stock under pressure after EU fine tied to illegal payments to Apple

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U.S. stock benchmarks on Wednesday traded in record territory as bank stocks led the way, extending a solid start to the year for Wall Street equities on the back of better-than-expected earnings.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 170 points, or 0.6%, to 26,381, with shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) adding about 32 points to the blue-chip average's gain's. The S&P 500 index tacked on 13 points, or 0.5%, to 2,852, propelled in part by gains in the financials sector, up about 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, was trading up 23 points, or 0.3%, at 7,483.

All three equity benchmarks set fresh all-time intraday highs near the official start of trade.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched all-time closing highs again (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-futures-rally-100-points-as-investors-move-past-shutdown-worries-to-focus-on-earnings-2018-01-23), while the Dow edged back from its record close hit on Monday.

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The three equity gauges are up between 6% and 8.1% so far in 2018, adding to last year's sizable gains as investors cheer the expanding U.S. economy and growth in corporate profits.

What are strategists saying?

"The S&P 500 really is up more than 6% so far this month and shows no sign of abatement," said Voya Investment Management strategists Doug Coté and Karyn Cavanaugh in a note.

"What could possibly go wrong? Well, one risk to the market could be global trade," they added, noting that President Trump late Monday approved tariffs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/first-solar-shares-jump-8-after-white-house-oks-tariffs-on-solar-panel-imports-2018-01-22) on imports of solar panels and washing machines.

Which stocks look like key movers?

Shares in Qualcomm Inc.(QCOM)traded 0.3% lower after the chip company was hit with a $1.2 billion antitrust fine by the European Union (https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-to-fine-qualcomm-over-exclusivity-payments-to-apple-1516783685?mod=mktw). The EU said Qualcomm made illegal payments to Apple Inc.(AAPL)for exclusively using its chips in iPhones and other products.

Conglomerates General Electric(GE) saw its stock slip 0.3% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ges-stock-turns-lower-after-disclosure-of-sec-probe-into-insurance-reserve-increase-2018-01-24) it said the Securities and Exchange Commission was probing the process that led to a sizable increase in its insurance reserves (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ge-shocks-market-with-multibillion-dollar-loss-in-legacy-reinsurance-business-2018-01-16) last week. The industrial conglomerate also reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ges-stock-surges-despite-surprise-loss-and-revenue-miss-as-power-and-oil-gas-revenue-beats-2018-01-24) but offered a rosier revenue projection for its power and oil-and-gas business.

Comcast Corp.'s stock (CMCSA)was trading flat after reporting earnings boosted by its broadband business and after announcing plans to repurchase $5 billion in stock in 2018.

Puma Biotechnology Inc.'s shares (PBYI) slumped by 29% after its price target was lowered, notably by J.P. Morgan Chase, as the company said a European Medicines Agency committee completed a negative vote for its breast cancer therapy neratinib (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/puma-biotech-shares-plummet-after-concerning-turn-in-europe-2018-01-24).

Shares of United Technologies Corp.(UTX) rose modestly, up 0.3%, after its fourth-quarter results, which revealed charges stemming from the new tax law (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/united-technologies-profit-dented-by-tax-charge-2018-01-24).

Texas Instruments Inc.(TXN)appeared on track to decline 5.2% after the chip company delivered in-line results and a modest outlook (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/texas-instruments-shares-fall-on-in-line-results-modest-outlook-2018-01-23) late Tuesday.

United Continental Holdings Inc.(UAL)fell 10.2% after the airline posted earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/united-stock-rises-after-fourth-quarter-earnings-beat-2018-01-23) late Tuesday.

Ford Motor Co.(F)results are due to report after the close of trade. Shares were up about 0.3%.

What are other assets doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was trading at a fresh three-year low as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a weaker greenback is good for trade (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-plunges-to-3-year-low-after-mnuchin-cheers-weaker-greenback-2018-01-24) while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. European and Asian stocks have been a mixed bag.

Gold futures were jumping by more 1.2%, while oil futures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/natural-gas-soars-with-the-leap-setting-off-a-trading-halt-2018-01-24)were slightly higher, up 0.1%.

What economic data could help drive markets?

U.S. IHS Markit flash services PMI fell to 53.3 in January, while those for manufacturing rose to 55.5 in January. A reading of at 50 or better indicates improving conditions.

Meanwhile, existing home sales for December showed sales up 5.57 million, down 3.6%, according to Realtor group.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 24, 2018 10:16 ET (15:16 GMT)