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18-Oct2017

US markets closed mostly higher on round of positive earnings report

The US markets closed mostly higher on Tuesday, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing at records as a round of positive earnings report from major companies boosted positive sentiment and extended the recent uptrend. Bank earnings and results from some of the biggest health-care companies were key drivers throughout the session. As third-quarter earnings season kicks into high gear, investors will be focused on those results to gauge whether valuation for stock benchmarks, repeatedly registering all-time highs in 2017, is supported.

On the economy front, industrial production in the US rebounded in September after two straight declines, rising 0.3% in September. Capacity utilization rose to 76% from 75.8% but remained below summer levels. Production for July, meanwhile, was revised to show a small decline instead of a 0.4% gain. The decline in August lowered to 0.7% from 0.9%. Most industries boosted output in September, led by construction and utilities. Manufacturing production edged up 0.1%. Industrial production fell at a 1.5% annual rate in the third quarter, but the Fed said its index would have risen at least 0.5% if not for the hurricanes.

Meanwhile, sentiment among home builders spiked in October after faltering over the summer. The National Association of Home Builder's monthly confidence gauge, released, jumped four points to a reading of 68, the highest reading since May. Every component of the index increased in October, with the gauges of current sales conditions and sales forecast over the coming six months both rising five points. The index that monitors buyer traffic rose one point to 48. It has rarely topped the neutral 50 line, even at the peak of the housing bubble a decade ago. Separately, the cost of imported goods jumped 0.7% in September in the biggest gain in more than a year, led by fuel prices and industrial supplies. Excluding fuel, import prices rose a smaller 0.3%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 40.48 points or 0.18 percent to 22,997.44, the S&P 500 edged higher by 1.72 points or 0.07 percent to 2,559.36, while the Nasdaq lost 0.35 points or 0.01 percent to 6,623.66.



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