Stocks hit record highs as tech rallies

By Markets FOXBusiness

A reporter points at ticker symbols for Apple Inc. and Netflix displayed on a screen at the Nasdaq Market site in New York September 2, 2015. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Silicon Valley carried stocks to fresh records on Wednesday, as the technology sector beat its all-time high set during the dot-com boom.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 66 points, or 0.3%, to 21,640. The S&P 500 climbed 13 points, or 0.5%, to 2,473. The Nasdaq Composite was up 40 points, or 0.6%, at 6,385.

Tech stocks have been the top winner on the market in 2017, advancing more than 22%. The rally picked up steam again on Wednesday, when the S&P information technology sector traded to around 992.29. Until now, the sector’s best performance at the closing bell, 988.49, came at the height of the dot-com boom in March 2000.

Microsoft (MSFT) and Facebook (FB) reached all-time highs during the session, as did Amazon.com (AMZN) and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA).

With tech names in the spotlight, the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq booked new all-time closing highs. The Nasdaq also completed its ninth straight positive session, marking the index’s longest winning streak since February 2015.

The Dow’s gains were slightly offset by International Business Machines (IBM), which reported weaker quarterly revenue. IBM fell more than 4%.

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In other corporate news, Morgan Stanley (MS) jumped 3.2% after beating Wall Street’s estimates for second-quarter earnings.

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McCormick & Co. (MKC) tumbled 5.2% in reaction to the spice and herb maker’s $4.2 billion deal to buy Reckitt Benckiser’s food business, known for French’s mustard and Frank’s RedHot sauce.

Discovery Communications (DISCA) traded 4.3% higher on a Wall Street Journal report that it’s discussing a merger with Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI), the owner of popular cable channels such as HGTV and the Food Network. Scripps rallied 14.7%.

Traders also parsed new reports on U.S. housing. Builders started construction on more new homes in June, bringing housing starts to a seasonally adjusted 1.22 million. The Commerce Department also said permit applications were up 7.4%.

Mortgage applications increased 6.3% last week on greater interest in refinancing, according to the Mortgage Banking Association. The group’s index has declined 31% this year amid higher interest rates.

The 10-year Treasury yield edged up to 2.269% from 2.263%.

Nymex West Texas Intermediate oil rose 68 cents, or 1.55%, to $47.12 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was trading 1.7% higher at $49.69 a barrel. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said domestic crude inventories lost 4.7 million barrels.

Gold added 10 cents to $1,242 a troy ounce. The precious metal has gained more than 2% over the last four sessions.

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