Dow hits record on strong earnings; Apple results eyed

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The Nasdaq Composite, however, was kept in check by losses in healthcare shares, led by Regeneron. The drugmaker’s (REGN.O) shares were down 3.84 percent after a rating downgrade.

All eyes will now be on the quarterly performance of Dow-component Apple (AAPL.O), which reports after the closing bell. The iPhone maker’s shares were up 0.11 percent.

Tech has been the best performing sector this year, despite recent bouts of volatility on rising valuation concerns. The tech index .SPLRCT rose 0.34 percent.

“While valuations overall and for the tech sector isn’t cheap, some of the most powerful earnings growth has come from large-cap technology names,” said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

Investors have been counting on earnings to support high valuations for equities. The S&P 500 is trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, above its long-term average of 15 times.

S&P 500 earnings are expected on average to have grown 10.8 percent in the second quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“We are two-thirds through the earnings season and estimates are going only higher, including for the full year, which is helping support the fundamentals-driven market.” said Northey.

At 12:42 p.m. ET (1642 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 93.78 points, or 0.43 percent, at 21,984.9. The index pierced through the historic 20,000 milestone in January and the 21,000 mark barely one and a half months later.

The S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.8 points, or 0.23 percent, at 2,476.10 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 7.87 points, or 0.12 percent, at 6,355.99.

The telecommunications .SPLRCL and financials .SPSY led the gainers, helped by a rise in Verizon (VZ.N) and JPMorgan (JPM.N).

Economic data showed U.S. consumer spending barely rose in June as income failed to increase for the first time in seven months.

The core PCE numbers – the Federal Reserve’s preferred metric to gauge inflation – for June edged up 0.1 percent following a similar increase in May.

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