Published On: Tue, Oct 10th, 2017

Wal-Mart helps Wall Street to new records, but techs curb gains

(Reuters) – Wall Street hit fresh record intraday highs on Tuesday, helped by a jump in Wal-Mart and energy stocks, but the gains were limited by declines in Amazon and technology stocks.

Wal-Mart (WMT.N) jumped more than 4 percent to a two-year high of $ 84.46 after forecasting U.S. online sales would rise by about 40 percent in the next fiscal year and unveiling a $ 20 billion share buyback plan.

That helped the consumer staples index .SPLRCS jump 0.76 percent, but gains were limited by P&G (PG.N), which dropped 1.22 percent after activist investor Nelson Peltz unexpectedly failed in his bid to win a board seat.

Investors are also focused on the third-quarter earnings season, which starts in earnest later this week, as they look to see if corporate profits justify the stocks’ lofty valuations.

Earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to have increased 4.8 percent last quarter, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from the double-digit growth recorded in the first two quarters of this year.

“There’s a lot of fundamental underpinning to the rally,” said Marcelle Daher, senior managing director of asset allocation at Manulife Asset Management.

“Given where (the earnings) estimate for third-quarter is and the historic ability of companies on an aggregate to beat that number, it is a pretty low hurdle for companies to beat.”

At 12:33 p.m. ET (1633 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 34.91 points, or 0.15 percent, at 22,795.98, and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 2.46 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,547.19.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 9.34 points, or 0.14 percent, at 6,570.39, weighed down by a 0.83 percent drop in Amazon (AMZN.O).

The tech index .SPLRCT, the best performing among the 11 major S&P sectors this year, was off 0.2 percent, weighed down by Alphabet (GOOGL.O), Facebook (FB.O) and Intel (INTC.O).

Among the odd gainers in tech stocks was Nvidia (NVDA.O), which rose 1.7 percent after unveiling chips for autonomous vehicles.

American Airlines (AAL.O) jumped 4.8 percent and United Continental (UAL.N) soared 5.2 percent after the two airlines gave encouraging third-quarter forecasts. Delta (DAL.N), which is to report on Wednesday, was up 2.7 percent.

Energy stocks .SPNY got a boost from a near 2 percent rise in oil prices supported by Saudi Arabian export cuts in November and comments from OPEC and trading companies that the market is rebalancing after years of oversupply.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,833 to 948. On the Nasdaq, 1,613 issues rose and 1,191 fell.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

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