IBM powers the Dow's historic close above 23,000
All three major equity indexes on Wednesday closed at records simultaneously for the 23rd time in 2017, and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ended above the 23,000 mark for the first time ever, as U.S. equities rode the latest round of corporate earnings fresh peaks.
How have the main benchmarks fared?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 160.16 points, or 0.7%, to 23,157.60. The S&P 500 index rose 1.9 points, or 0.1%, at 2,561.26 and the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.56 point to 6,624.22.
Recent trading has had a pronounced upside bias. The Dow logged its fourth straight daily rise, as well as its 13th gain of the past 16 trading days. The S&P gained for a fourth straight day as well as its 14th positive session of the past 17.
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)
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)
What are strategists saying?
"So far, earnings have beat expectations. I think that the most important thing economically that has happened this year is the clear, sustainable recovery occurring in Europe. We're getting confirmation of that with almost every economic release. Europe is creating more demand for goods from China which is helping China, so we have the U.S., Europe and China in a synchronized recovery. Economic data globally is confirming positive earnings trends," said Maris Ogg, president of Tower Bridge Advisors.
"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."
Which stocks were key movers?
Shares in International Business Machines Corp.(IBM) jumped 8.9% 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% 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 7.5% 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 1.3% after it reported its quarterly results.
Allergan PLC(AGN) shares continued to fall, dropping 5.4% after a Texas district court judge earlier this week ruled against the company in a patent lawsuit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/allergan-patent-suit-loss-sends-stock-down-5-2017-10-16) regarding the company's billion-dollar dry-eye medication Restasis.
Shares of Electronic Arts Inc.(EA) slid 2.4% following news that the company is shuttering the unit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ea-shuts-down-studio-developing-star-wars-game-2017-10-17) that was working on a coming "Star Wars" videogame.
Financial stocks were big gainers led by Citigroup Inc.(C), Goldman Sachs Group Inc.(GS), and Morgan Stanley(MS).
What could drive markets?
The Fed's Beige Book report, which gathers economic anecdotes from across the U.S. central bank's regional districts, showed that economic growth has ranged from modest to moderate, a report that is unlikely to deter the central bank from normalizing interest-rate policy.
What are data saying about the economy?
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.
Read: Fed's Beige Book still can't find inflation threat despite labor bottlenecks so severe they're shackling U.S. economy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-beige-book-still-cant-find-inflation-threat-despite-labor-bottlenecks-so-severe-theyre-shackling-us-economy-2017-10-18)
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) closed higher, 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 settled up slightly (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-buoyed-by-persistent-middle-east-tensions-2017-10-18), while gold futures finished lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-futures-build-on-weeks-losses-as-dollar-gains-inflation-risk-in-focus-2017-10-18). The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was mostly flat (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-lines-up-for-5th-straight-win-2017-10-18).
--Victor Reklaitis contributed to this article.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 18, 2017 16:40 ET (20:40 GMT)