S&P 500, Nasdaq end at records but Dow drops on Boeing, Caterpillar

Remote video URL
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, July 24, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq surged to fresh records on Wednesday (July 24) but the Dow retreated after Boeing and Caterpillar slumped on disappointing earnings.

Analysts said expectations for an interest rate cut next week more than offset headwinds that included a regulatory crackdown on technology giants and congressional testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on election interference by Russia.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent to close at 3,019.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.9 per cent to end at 8,321.50.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, shed 0.3 per cent to 27,269.97.

The records came after the Justice Department announced it would begin an antitrust review of major online platforms to determine if they have "stifled" innovation or reduced competition.

The move means more scrutiny for tech giants Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet.

However, none of the companies fell significantly and Facebook finished with a gain of 1.1 per cent despite also being hit with a US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion) fine over privacy violations in a wide-ranging settlement that revamps oversight at the social network.

Analysts said investors were taking a wait-and-see view of the newly-announced probe, in part because any action by the government to break up any of the tech giants would take time.

But investors also are feeling reassured by dovish statements from central banks, including the European Central Bank, which meets Thursday and the Federal Reserve, which is expected to cut interest rates next week.

"It's a sign of a market that just keeps finding reasons to go up because you have the support of lower interest rates," Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare said.

He said big gains by companies after good earnings reflects underlying confidence bordering on complacency.

Among the shares that rose after reports, Snap soared 18.5 per cent, Chipotle Mexican Grill 5.3 per cent, UPS 8.7 per cent and Texas Instruments 7.4 per cent.

But Caterpillar dived 4.5 per cent after reporting second-quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations and signaling full-year profits would be on the low end of its range, citing higher costs and weak activity in China and some other markets.

Boeing dropped 3.1 per cent after reporting its biggest quarterly loss ever of US$2.9 billion and saying it could further cut production of the 737 Max or temporarily halt manufacturing if the global grounding drags out much longer after two deadly crashes.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.