By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 rose to its highest in more than five months and the Dow climbed for a fifth session on Wednesday as solid earnings boosted financial and industrial stocks and reinforced expectations for a strong second-quarter reporting season.
Upbeat earnings from railroad CSX Corp
The Dow Jones Transport Average <.DJT> jumped 2.3 percent, its biggest daily advance in three months.
Although it is still early in the reporting period, estimates for the U.S. earnings season are improving as more companies release results.
S&P 500 earnings are now expected to have increased 21.4 percent in the second quarter, up from an estimate of 20.7 percent on July 1. Of the 48 companies in the index that have reported so far, 87.5 percent posted earnings above analyst expectations.
"We've been having this very nice rally," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services in New York. "The reason for that is earnings and valuations."
"I think the market would be a lot higher right now if it wasn't for people worried about trade," Kaufman said.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, questioned by members of a House of Representatives committee, repeated on Wednesday that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to a U.S. and global expansion that appears largely on track to continue.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 79.4 points, or 0.32 percent, to 25,199.29, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 6.07 points, or 0.22 percent, to 2,815.62 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 0.67 point, or 0.01 percent, to 7,854.44.
Data showed the U.S. housing market continues to be an economic soft spot. Housing starts fell 12.3 percent in June to a nine-month low as homebuilders struggled with higher lumber prices and persistent land and labour shortages.
Shares of Google parent Alphabet
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.21-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.18-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 30 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 102 new highs and 47 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.0 billion shares, compared to the 6.48 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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Updated Date: Jul 19, 2018 03:05:26 IST