US stocks boosted by bank and tech firms

US stocks boosted by bank and tech firms

Banks and technology companies took US stocks higher on Tuesday as companies continued to report strong second-quarter results.

Payment processors also made hefty gains, while Sprint said it gained wireless subscribers and that it is open to combining with a competitor or a cable company.

Royal Caribbean Cruises, Xerox and shopping centre operator Simon Property Group all climbed, while athletic apparel maker Under Armour and industrial companies fell after disappointing results. General Motors and Ford slumped on weak July sales reports.

Some of the largest gains went to companies and industries that have struggled this year, like real estate investment trusts, or which have missed out on the gains entirely, like phone companies.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 6.05 points, or 0.2%, to 2,476.35. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 72.80 points, or 0.3%, to 21,963.92.

The blue chip index closed at a record high for the fifth day in a row. Nasdaq composite added 14.82 points, or 0.2%, to 6,362.94. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 3.19 points, or 0.2%, to 1,428.33.

Banks helped lead the way. The top gainers included JPMorgan Chase, which rose 1.23 dollars, or 1.3%, to 93.03 dollars and Citigroup, which added 1.15 dollars, or 1.7%, to 69.60 dollars.

Intel rose as South Korean regulators signed off on its deal for Mobileye. Mobileye makes software that processes information from cameras and other car sensors to decide where an autonomous car should steer, and Intel agreed to buy it for 15 billion dollars in March. Intel gained 88 cents, or 2.5%, to 36.35 dollars.

Tech could be in for more gains on Wednesday. Apple reported a strong quarter after the closing bell on Tuesday, and its stock rose 4.7% in after-hours trading.

Apple reported earnings and revenue that far exceeded analysts' forecasts, and issued a solid outlook for the fourth quarter, when the company is expected to launch a 10th anniversary version of the iPhone.

Sprint had its best day this year after it said it is open to combining with another phone company or a cable company. The fourth-largest US wireless carrier also reported its first quarterly profit in three years as it cut cost and added wireless subscribers. Sprint rose 89 cents, or 11.2%, to 8.87 dollars.

Oil prices plunged after a six-day rally. US crude shed 1.01 dollars, or 2%, to 49.16 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, dropped 94 cents, or 1.8%, to 51.78 dollars a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 110.30 yen from 110.24 yen. The euro slid to 1.1801 dollars from 1.1831 dollars.

The DAX in Germany DAX rose 1.1%. Britain's FTSE 100 and the French CAC 40 both rose 0.7%. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.3% while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.8%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.8%.

- AP

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