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US: Stocks edge to records ahead of major earnings

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Wall Street stocks edged to fresh records on Monday at the start of a heavy week of earnings reports for which expectations are relatively low.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks edged to fresh records on Monday at the start of a heavy week of earnings reports for which expectations are relatively low.

Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report a three per cent drop in second-quarter profits compared with the year-ago period, according to FactSet.

"Earnings growth for the S&P 500 in the first half of the year has been elusive," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"The direct driver of the stock market, however, has been the persistence of low interest rates and the friendly reminder from the Federal Reserve that it stands ready to use its tools to keep the longest economic expansion on record going."

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Shaking off weakness during the session, Wall Street pushed into the black at the session's conclusion, which meant another day of records after all three major indices closed last week at all-time highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.1 per cent at 27,359.16.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 per cent at 3,014.30, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent to 8,258.19.

Large banks fell as the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note retreated. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, all of which report results on Tuesday, fell more than one per cent.

Citigroup, which reported better-than-expected results on Monday, slipped 0.1 per cent.

Gilead Sciences gained 2.7 per cent after agreeing to pay US$3.95 billion, plus make a US$1.1 billion equity investment in Galapagos NV of Belgium, for access to a broad range of research programmes for new drug development.

Dow member Boeing fell one per cent as both American Airlines and United Continental extended their plans for grounding the 737 Max planes due to uncertainty over when regulators will allow the jets to fly after two crashes.

Symantec plunged 10.7 per cent following a Bloomberg report that it halted talks to be acquired by Broadcom. Broadcom rose one per cent.

AFP