Another NASDAQ record: NASDAQ Third Straight Record Close

Published: July 21, 2015

Another NASDAQ record: NASDAQ Third Straight Record Close, If you were a kid who played baseball during the 1920s and fancied yourself as a slugger, you pictured yourself as either Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig.

But if pitching was your thing, you pretended to be Dazzy Vance.

I’ll wager that many folks today – even die-hard baseball fans – don’t know that name.

A batch of better-than-expected earnings reports pushed the Nasdaq Composite Index to its third straight record close, even as a sell-off in commodities battered mining shares.

The Nasdaq Composite rose 8.72 points, or 0.2 per cent, to end at 5218.86. The S & P 500 gained 1.64 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 2128.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 13.96 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 18100.41.

Gains on US and European markets point to Australian shares opening higher. At 6.45am (AEST), the September share price index futures contract was up nine points at 5,651.

Upbeat US corporate earnings reports lifted Wall Street stocks. Hasbro Inc. notched the biggest gain in the S & P 500, rising 6.3 per cent, after the toy maker reported better-than-expected profit and revenue in its second quarter.

Halliburton Co’s shares advanced 1.8 per cent after the oil-services company posted per-share earnings and revenue that beat expectations.

“Anything with growth is getting bought in a very, very aggressive manner,” said Rick Fier, director of execution services at Conifer Securities. He added that the “geopolitics has really calmed down,” referring to a recent bout of market volatility brought on by the financial crisis in Greece.

Shares of Morgan Stanley fell 0.4 per cent after the bank reported lower earnings that still topped analyst expectations.

The overnight gains mark a return for major indexes to record or near-record territory. Receding fears about Greece’s financial situation and some stronger-than-expected earnings reports have bolstered shares in recent sessions. For the month, the Dow has added 2.7 per cent and the S & P 500 has gained 3.2 per cent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has jumped 4.65 per cent in July, helped by a rise in Google Inc and Netflix Inc following strong quarterly reports last week. Shares of both companies gave back some of their recent gains Monday. Google Class A shares lost 1 per cent, while Netflix stock fell 3.7 per cent.

The second-quarter earnings season will continue to gain steam in coming days. Investors have been bracing for one of the weakest quarterly earnings seasons in years, with corporate performance hampered by a strong dollar and a sell-off in oil prices. Including results from 67 companies in the S & P 500, second-quarter earnings are on track to slip 3.2 per cent from a year ago. That is better than the 4.5 per cent decline forecast by analysts heading into the reporting season.

“Last week, we had a combination of bank earnings and a celebration that Greece was in the rearview mirror” driving stock gains, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. “This week, we get reports from a much broader swath of corporate America and that will give us a better handle on just how strong the second quarter was.”

Elsewhere, a tumble in gold prices prompted a sell-off in the shares of several mining firms. Shares of gold producer Newmont Mining Corp. tumbled 12 per cent. The SPDR Metals & Mining ETF Index lost 2.4 per cent. Materials firms in the S & P 500 lost 0.9 per cent.

Gold futures shed 2.2 per cent to $US1106.70 an ounce, their lowest level since March 2010. Crude-oil futures fell 1.5 per cent to $US50.15 a barrel.

Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp rose 2 per cent after the defence contractor agreed to buy Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies Corp for $US9 billion. United Technologies shares fell 0.2 per cent.

European stocks advanced as Greek banks reopened after three weeks, fuelling confidence that Greece has avoided an exit from the eurozone. The Athens Stock Exchange, which has been closed since June 29, remained shut. Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 per cent and France’s CAC-40 added 0.35 per cent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.372 per cent, compared with 2.349 per cent on Friday. Yields rise as prices fall.

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