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S&P 500 notches third straight record high close

Published 01/23/2024, 06:12 AM
Updated 01/23/2024, 04:31 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 19, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
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By Noel Randewich and Ankika Biswas

(Reuters) -The S&P 500 climbed to a record high close on Tuesday as investors digested a mixed bag of early quarterly results and awaited a slew of additional reports from Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and other companies later this week.

It was the third straight all-time high for the benchmark stock index, and many investors view upcoming quarterly reports from the heavily weighted "Magnificent 7" group of megacap companies as key to whether Wall Street's recent rally continues or loses steam.

"It's a crescendo of reports tomorrow and Thursday, and then next week will be even busier," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Wealth. "We've got a lot of things to contemplate over the course of this week and next that will likely will end up being a market positive."

In extended trade, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) rallied 3.2% after the video streaming service blew past Wall Street subscriber estimates in the fourth quarter, driven by a strong slate of shows.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.29% to end the session at 4,864.59 points.

The Nasdaq gained 0.43% to 15,425.94 points, while Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.25% to 37,905.45 points.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) rallied 6.7% after forecasting a strong annual profit and posting its highest quarterly subscriber additions in nearly two years, while Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) gained 4.2% after it topped second-quarter profit expectations.

3M tumbled 11% after forecasting dour annual earnings, while Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) dipped 1.6% after reporting quarterly results just above expectations.

D.R. Horton dropped over 9% after the homebuilder missed estimates for first-quarter profit.

Tesla climbed 0.2% ahead of its report late on Wednesday.

Analysts on average see S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings up 4.6% year over year, compared to 7.5% growth in the third quarter, according to LSEG data.

Stock market valuations appear rich. The S&P 500 is trading at about 20 times forward 12-month earnings estimates, well above its long-term average of 16 times, according to LSEG.

"Earnings for all equity classes peaked and will move lower as the economy weakens and revenue growth stalls," Wells Fargo senior global market strategist Sameer Samana said in a note.

Wall Street's recent gains have been fueled by expectations of lower interest rates and optimism around artificial intelligence, which has helped lift the Philadelphia chip index over 5% so far in 2024, adding to a 65% surge last year.

The personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index - the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge, as well as the S&P Global PMI readings and an advance fourth-quarter GDP print this week will be key in assessing the central bank's next interest rate decision when it meets on Jan. 31.

The Fed will wait until the second quarter before cutting rates, according to a Reuters poll, with June now seen more likely than May.

Advancing issues outnumbered falling ones within the S&P 500 by a 1.2-to-one ratio.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 19, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The S&P 500 posted 34 new highs and one new low; the Nasdaq recorded 102 new highs and 90 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was relatively light, with 10.9 billion shares traded, compared to an average of 11.4 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

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