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US: Tech leads as stocks rise at start of big earnings week

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[NEW YORK] The Nasdaq rallied on Monday, with large technology shares gaining ahead of earnings reports and semiconductor stocks surging on expectations the sector is primed for good results.

With some 130 companies the S&P 500 set to report this week, analysts are squarely focused on earnings in a week that is relatively light in terms of US economic data and a lull period before a highly-anticipated July 31 Federal Reserve announcement.

Shares of Amazon, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet all rose ahead of earnings this week, along with Apple, which gained 2.3 per cent after Morgan Stanley lifted its price target.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.7 per cent to 8,204.14.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 per cent to 27,171.90, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 per cent to 8,204.14.

Last week's earnings reports, dominated by banks, were better than expected, said CFRA Research's Sam Stovall. Analysts have lifted their estimates for the second quarter but cut their outlook for the third quarter.

Chip stocks were especially strong after Goldman Sachs upgraded several companies in the sector and said oversupply in the industry would be sold off more quickly than previously thought.

Goldman upgraded Micron, Applied Materials and Lam Research. Micron gained 3.7 per cent, Applied 6.1 per cent and Lam 4.4 per cent.

Halliburton surged 9.2 per cent despite reporting lower second-quarter profits after it described increased oil and gas activity.

But Boeing dropped 1.1 per cent after Fitch revised its outlook on the company to "negative," saying the grounding of the 737 Max situation "will reduce much of the financial cushion Boeing has," according to a note.

"The Max situation also presents significant public relations challenges and the impact on Boeing's reputation and brand will be a watch item for the next year or more," Fitch said.

AFP