S&P, Nasdaq rise on bank and tech gains; IBM dents Dow Jones

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Wednesday, aided by banks and technology stocks, while a drop in IBM weighed on the Dow.

The gain in financials was underpinned by a 3 percent jump in shares of Morgan Stanley, which reported a surge in quarterly profit. Morgan Stanley's solid results provided some succor to investors stung by weak results at chief rival Goldman Sachs a day earlier.

Shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo edged up slightly.

"This bounce today in U.S. equities is perhaps investors looking beyond daily moves," said James Athey, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. "While there has been some disappointment, the big picture has not vastly changed. We're still talking about a global economy which is doing better... and central banks that are looking to normalize, and all of that should be supportive for risk assets."

At 9:44 a.m. ET (9:44 p.m Singapore time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 20,511.28, the S&P 500 was up 6.37 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 2,348.56 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 28.40 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 5,877.87. With Wall Street near record levels and worries over President Donald Trump's ability to carry out his pro-growth promises, investors are hoping first-quarter earnings will justify pricey market valuations.

So far, the results have been promising. Of the 45 S&P 500 companies that have released results, nearly 76 percent have topped earnings estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 10.7 percent in the quarter - the best since 2011. Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher.