Wall St. rises amid robust GDP data, mixed earnings

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., October 17, 2016.REUTERS/Lucas Jackson


By Yashaswini Swamynathan

Wall Street rose on Friday as robust economic data shone light on the strength of the U.S. economy, while upbeat results from Alphabet and Chevron offset the decline in health stocks and Amazon.

Data showed the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in two years. Gross domestic product increased at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the third quarter, helped by a surge in exports, the first estimate by the U.S. Commerce Department revealed.

While the report supports the case for an interest rate hike, the Federal Reserve is highly unlikely to make a move at its meeting next week, as it falls just days ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

However, the odds of a rate increase in December stand at 78.5 percent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

The main focus of the market remains on corporate results as investors hope the latest quarter snaps a year-long earnings recession.

With an increasing number of S&P 500 companies beating profit estimates, analysts see a 3 percent growth in earnings in the third quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) 2.5 percent rise and Chevron’s (CVX.N) 3.7 percent jump on upbeat earnings buoyed sentiment. The stocks gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Amazon.com (AMZN.O) was set for its worst day in nearly nine months, falling 4.2 percent to $784.88 after the online retailer warned heavy investments in the crucial holiday quarter would drag profits. The stock was the top drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq.

“(Today’s movement) is a tug-of-war among many things,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. “It’s the certainty that earnings are improving versus the ongoing uncertainty from the election and the Fed.”

At 11:02 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 56.94 points, or 0.31 percent, at 18,226.62, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.93 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,138.97 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 9.78 points, or 0.19 percent, at 5,225.76.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, while healthcare sector .SPXHC was down 1.4 percent. Amgen (AMGN.O) plunged 9.2 percent to $145.74 after the world’s largest biotechnology company reported sales for its flagship drug that disappointed investors and analysts.

Mastercard (MA.N) touched a record high of $107.50 after the world’s second-biggest payments processor reported a 21.2 percent jump in quarterly profit. The results also lifted shares of larger rival Visa (V.N). Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,666 to 1,093. On the Nasdaq, 1,421 issues rose and 1,118 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and nine new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 87 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Don Sebastian)

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