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Stock Market News for July 20, 2017

Benchmarks closed at record highs on Wednesday boosted partly by broad-based gains in technology shares. The technology sector, the most heavily weighted sector in the S&P 500, increased 0.5% and helped the benchmark index broke above its all-time high set in Mar 2000. The Nasdaq also marked its ninth session of successive gains and its 40th all-time closing high of 2017 after receiving a boost from tech shares.

Upbeat second quarter earnings results from Morgan Stanley also added to the bullish sentiment. Its trading revenues came in above expectations. On the other hand, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase had seen their trading businesses bleed last quarter. IBM’s disappointing quarterly results, meanwhile, limited the Dow’s advance. Nevertheless, the blue-chip index still managed to finish at a record high.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.3% to close at 21,640.75. The S&P 500 advanced 0.5% to finish at 2,473.83. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index increased 0.6% to close at 6,385.04. A total of around 5.78 billion shares were traded on Wednesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 6.41 billion shares. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 2.95-to-1 ratio. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Morgan Stanley Posts Better-than-Expected Q2 Results

Continued strength in equity trading drove Morgan Stanley’s MS second-quarter 2017 earnings of 87 cents per share, which easily surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 76 cents. The reported figure was 16% above the prior-year quarter.

Net revenue amounted to $9.5 billion, a rise of 7% from the prior-year quarter. In addition, it surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9.3 billion. Meanwhile, total non-interest revenues of $8.8 billion grew 7% year over year, primarily supported by improvement in trading and investments (read more: Morgan Stanley Beats Q2 Earnings on Equity Trading Gain).

IBM’s Mixed Results Disappoints

International Business Machines Corp IBM reported second-quarter 2017 non-GAAP earnings of $2.97 per share, which increased 0.7% from the year-ago quarter and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 24 cents (8.8%).

Revenues of $19.30 billion, however, missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $19.49 billion and decreased 4.7% year over year (read more: IBM Beats on Q2 Earnings, Q3 Revenue Outlook Unimpressive).

Solid Housing Starts Join Q2 Earnings

According to the Department of Commerce, housing starts increased by 8.3% from May to a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.22 million in June. This represents a 2.1% annual increase, the highest recorded in four months. June’s housing starts were also considerably higher than the estimated level of 1.16 million. Additionally, May’s housing starts figure of 1.09 million, originally the lowest recorded in eight months, was revised upward to 1.12 million.

Building permits also increased, by 7.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.25 million. The forward looking metric also experienced a year-over-year increase of 5.1%, implying that housing activity is likely to remain strong in the near future.

Stocks That Made Headlines

America Movil Q2 Earnings Miss, Revenues Rise Y/Y

America Movil S.A.B. AMX reported mixed financial results in the second quarter of 2017. (Read More)

Canadian Pacific's Q2 Earnings Beat, Revenues Miss

Canadian Pacific Railway Limited CP reported better-than-expected earnings but lower-than-expected revenues in second-quarter 2017. (Read More)

C.H. Robinson Q2 Earnings Miss, Revenues Top Estimates

C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.'s CHRW second-quarter 2017 earnings per share fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. (Read More)

Plexus Q3 Earnings, Revenues Beat Estimates, Stock Up

Plexus Corp’s PLXS fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings per share and revenues beat the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. (Read More)

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