Banks lead as Dow, S&P 500 push to fresh records

A rally in financial stocks helped lift the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs. JPMorgan Chase's strong earnings spurred financial stocks.

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks pushed to new records on Thursday (July 14), lifted by JPMorgan Chase's strong earnings and hopes for more stimulus from central banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 per cent at 18,506.41, its third straight all-time high.

The broad-market S&P 500 extended its record streak to a fourth day, advancing 0.5 per cent to 2,163.75. The tech-rich Nasdaq rose 0.6 per cent to 5,034.06.

Equity markets shrugged off the Bank of England's decision to hold interest rates and stimulus unchanged in its first meeting after Britain voted to leave the European Union. The bank though signalled it could come at its August meeting. analyst Patrick O'Hare said the market continues to be in a "party mood" on expectations of more stimulus in Britain and Japan.

"The BOE, then, did nothing to take away the stimulus punch bowl from which the market has been drowning its sorrows, raising the roof, and pretty much partying like it's 1999," he said.

Dow member JPMorgan Chase, the largest US bank by assets, jumped 1.5 per cent after second-quarter earnings and revenues topped expectations, lifting other financials.

Citigroup and Wells Fargo, which report earnings on Friday, rose 2.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent, respectively.

Heavyweight Apple surged nearly 2 per cent as the tech giant reportedly is moving towards producing original entertainment content.

Delta Air Lines soared 3.6 per cent after reporting a 4.1 per cent rise in second-quarter net income to US$1.5 billion. It said it would trim some capacity on its US flights to Britain after the Brexit vote.

Rival carriers United Continental and American Airlines each rose more than 4 per cent.

In the biggest tech IPO so far this year, Japan-based messaging app Line surged 33 per cent from its initial offer price to US$41.58, or 4,384 yen. Line shares will begin trading in Tokyo on Friday.

Restaurant chain Yum Brands leaped almost 3 per cent as it lifted its full-year operating profit growth forecast to at least 14 per cent from 12 per cent previously.

Monsanto climbed 3.1 per cent after Germany's Bayer raised its all-cash takeover bid by US$3 to 125 per share.