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S&P 500 hovers below record highs on mixed earnings

 S&P 500 hovers below record highs on mixed earnings

By Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks hovered below their all-time highs on Wednesday, as investors digested a mixed batch of earnings reports and losses in energy stocks limited gains on the indexes.

The S&P 500 is 0.3% below its record high of 2,940.91 hit in late September. The index has rallied 17% this year, supported by a dovish Federal Reserve, hopes of a U.S.-China trade resolution and a largely upbeat earnings season.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq hit an all-time high of 8,139.55 earlier, helped by eBay Inc's upbeat earnings and a rally in shares of chipmakers.

"Heading into earnings season, there was a lot of fear of earnings contraction and as earnings come out, a lot of that seems to be very unfounded," said Mary Ryan, senior equity options strategist at E*Trade Financial Corp.

"Traders are watching earnings very closely to see if the continued surprises can ease some of those concerns, and continue to push these markets into even higher record territory."

Profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.1% for the first quarter, still a large improvement from the 2.3% drop estimated at the start of April. Nearly 78% of the 129 companies that have reported so far have surpassed earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

Boeing Co gained 1.3%. The planemaker scrapped its 2019 outlook and reported quarterly revenue below estimates due to grounding of its 737 MAX jets. Its shares have lost 11% since the deadly Ethiopian crash in early March.

Caterpillar Inc fell 2.5% as rising costs hit margins in its construction equipment business and the company reported tepid sales in the Asia Pacific region.

AT&T Inc declined 4.4% after the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates.

At 12:42 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7.35 points, or 0.03%, at 26,649.04, the S&P 500 was down 1.07 points, or 0.04%, at 2,932.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.45 points, or 0.04%, at 8,124.27.

Microsoft Corp, Facebook Inc and Tesla Inc, set to report after the closing bell on Wednesday, were down slightly.

Chip stocks rose as much as 1.9% to a record high after shares of Texas Instruments clawed back losses.

EBay jumped 4.6% after the company raised its full-year sales and profit forecasts.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp jumped 12%, providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500, after Occidental Petroleum Corp sought to scuttle Chevron Corp's takeover of the company with a $57 billion bid. Occidental's shares fell 2.5%.

Oil majors Chevron and Exxon Mobil Corp fell about 2%, dragging down the S&P energy index as oil prices slipped.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 47 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 84 new highs and 25 new lows.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Apr 25, 2019 00:06:57 IST