Techs boost S&P and Nasdaq to records, but banks limit gains
(Reuters) - A surge in technology stocks sent the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to record highs on Friday, but the gains were kept in check by a drop in banks as Wells Fargo missed revenue estimates for a fourth straight quarter.
Wells Fargo <WFC.N> tumbled 3 percent, set for its biggest drop since mid-April, adding to the pressure on bank stocks after results from JPMorgan <JPM.N> and Citigroup <C.N> on Thursday stoked concerns about consumer credit.
Bank of America <BAC.N>, however, bucked the trend, rising 0.5 percent after the lender's profit topped estimates due to higher interest rates and a drop in costs.
The reports from the Wall Street banks kicked off the earnings season and investors are hoping profit growth will help justify valuations after a rally that has sent the S&P 500 up about 14 percent so far this year.
The market got a boost earlier in the day after data showed retail sales surged by the most in 2-1/2 years in September, easing doubts over an economy that has been sluggish this year.
Another report showed consumer prices recorded their biggest increase in eight months last month as gasoline prices soared in the wake of hurricane-related production disruptions.
But, year-on-year core inflation was unmoved for the fifth month, putting no new pressure on the Federal Reserve to tighten borrowing costs and hamper demand any further.
"While markets are still expecting the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December, concerns over prolonged periods of depressed inflation may cloud the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates in 2018," Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM said.
"Although this (retail sales) was below market estimates, this figure is still encouraging and continues to support the bullish sentiment towards the U.S. economy."
At 9:42 a.m. ET (1342 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> was up 30.54 points, or 0.13 percent, at 22,871.55, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 2.3 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,553.23 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> was up 12.44 points, or 0.19 percent, at 6,603.95.
Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by 0.6 percent gains in the energy index <.SPNY> as oil prices rose.
But the biggest boost came from the technology sector <.SPLRCT>, led by Apple <AAPL.O> and Facebook <FB.O>.
Shares of health insurers tumbled on news that President Donald Trump scrapped billions of dollars in Obamacare subsidies to private health insurers for low-income Americans.
Centene <CNC.N> sank 8.10 percent, Molina Healthcare <MOH.N> dropped 3.66 percent and Anthem <ANTM.N> fell 1.90 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,766 to 771. On the Nasdaq, 1,312 issues rose and 1,041 fell.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)
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