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S&P, Dow hit record highs as Apple, financials climb

Reuters 

By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P were off sessions highs in Tuesday afternoon trading after scaling new records on gains in Apple and advances in JPMorgan and

Apple rose as much as 1.91 percent to an all-time high and provided the biggest boost to all three major indexes.

was up 0.77 percent and JPMorgan 0.61 percent.

Tuesday's rise puts the Dow on track to post its 11th straight session of gains - the blue-chip index's longest streak for consecutive gains since February - driven by a strong quarterly earnings season.

Second-quarter earnings have been stronger than expected with analysts now expecting S&P 500 earnings to have expanded 11.8 percent, compared with 8 percent at the start of July, according to Thomson I/B/E/S.

"We've had an exceptional second-quarter earnings season which has given investors confidence," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve.

"But with earnings coming to a close, no major economic data and seasonality issues, trading volume is expected to be slightly diminished."

Trading volume is also expected to be relatively tepid with no major legislation expected as the U.S. Congress is on vacation and with summer setting in.

The S&P hasn't moved more than 0.5 percent since July and has fallen more than 1 percent only twice this year.

At 12:44 p.m. ET (1644 GMT), the Industrial Average was up 31.74 points, or 0.14 percent, at 22,150.16, the S&P 500 was up 6.33 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,487.24.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.11 points, or 0.44 percent, at 6,411.88.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the technology and financial sectors leading the advancers.

The Labor Department said U.S. job openings, a measure of labor demand, jumped to a record high in June and was at the highest level since December 2000.

Also on investors' radar is the rush of retail earnings this week and next, amid Amazon.com's rapid rise.

"With retail earnings, it would be interesting to see if expectations have fallen enough for these companies to beat them," Wiegand said.

And on Tuesday, shares of Michael Kors jumped 22.16 percent beat lowered Wall Street expectations for profit and raised its full-year revenue forecast, while Ralph Lauren rose 10.56 percent following revenue and profit beats.

Macy's, Kohl's, JC Penney are expected to report results this week, with Wal-Mart, Target due next week.

Dean Foods slumped 19.10 percent after the largest U.S. dairy processor's quarterly results came in below estimates.

SeaWorld Entertainment plunged as much as 18.44 percent to a record low after the theme park company's quarterly revenue missed expectations.

Avis Budget Group fell 7.31 percent as the car rental company cut its full-year profit view.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,480 to 1,294. On the Nasdaq, 1,563 issues rose and 1,248 fell.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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