Stock markets off opening highs, but near records on upbeat corporate earnings – MarketWatch

U.S. stock-market indexes climbed on Tuesday, with the Dow industrials briefly setting an intraday record just shy of 22,000, thanks to upbeat earnings, though lackluster economic data as well as a slide in monthly car sales limited gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.40%  added 74 points, or 0.3%, to 21,965 in early trade, setting an intraday all-time high at 21,988.34.

The blue-chip index has been outperforming other benchmarks over the past few days, thanks to earnings-driven gains in ircraft maker Boeing Co. BA, +0.28%  and oil giant Chevron Corp. CVX, +1.51% On Tuesday, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co JPM, +1.21%  and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +1.17%  led the advance, up more than 1%.

The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.21%  climbed 5 points, or 0.2%, to 2,475, only a few points below its record close set last week at 2,484.04. Of the 11 main sectors, eight were trading higher, with the financials leading the climb, up 0.7%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.23% advanced 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,260.

Read: Dow flirts with a fresh milestone—22,000

“Over the past few days we saw Nasdaq and tech stocks tumble and it’s not surprising because people are probably taking profits after 40% run-up in some of the tech stocks,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

“I would call this a cautious unwind. If it turns into a correction that everyone is eager for, then it will just be another buying opportunity,” Kinahan said.

Earnings remained a key focus point on Tuesday, with traders awaiting further signs of upbeat sentiment in earnings, which have so far provided healthy, said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda.

As of last Friday, 73% of the S&P 500 companies that had reported earnings posted sales numbers above estimates, according to FactSet. That puts the second quarter on track to mark the highest percentage of companies beating sales forecasts since FactSet began tracking data in 2008.

Earnings docket: Shares of Pfizer Inc. PFE, -1.06%  fell 0.8% even the drugmaker reported adjusted earnings ahead of forecasts.

Xerox Corp. XRX, +2.12%  shares rose 1.8% after better-than-expected earnings.

Shares of car makers Ford Motors F, -2.81%  and General Motors Company GM, -3.10%  fell nearly 3% after reporting sharp declines in car sales in July.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. ADM, +2.92% shares rose 1.8% after the company beat earnings estimates.Steven Madden Ltd. SHOO, +2.44% also reported earnings that topped estimates, sending shares 1.7% higher.

Sprint Corp. S, +10.28%  shares jumped by nearly 8% as the telecom company posted profit for the first time in three years.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. RCL, +3.51%  shares jumped 3.9% after the company beat earnings estimates and raised profit guidance.

And after the market closes, tech giant Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.27% Herbalife Ltd. HLF, -1.65% Allstate Corp. ALL, +0.00%  and Match Group Inc. MTCH, +0.82%  are slated to report.

Read: Apple earnings: How long will iPhone sales be on ‘pause’?

Stock movers: Shares of Tidewater Inc. DE:TDW  rocketed 2,400% after the offshore service-vessel provider late Monday said it has emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. REGN, -3.16%  fell 2.5% after Baird downgraded the company to underperform.

Political reversals: Investors were still assessing the latest drama from the White House, in which Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci on Monday was removed from his post after just 10 days in the job.

“The dismissal of the U.S. White House communications director could be interpreted as the reasserting of authority over the executive branch, or a signal of the worst chaos the White House has known since President Jackson’s inauguration,” said Paul Donovan, global chief economist at UBS, in a note.

Check out: Ex-Marine Kelly in, ex-Wall Streeter Scaramucci out: Why Trump made the switch

Economic news: Consumer spending in June rose by the smallest amount in five months as income growth flatlined, but lower gasoline prices also played a role.

The PCE index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, was flat in June. What’s more, the 12-month rate of inflation stood at 1.4%, down from 2.2% earlier in the year.

The IHS Markit final manufacturing PMI climbed to 53.3 in July from 52 preliminary result.

The ISM manufacturing index fell to 56.3% in July from 57.8%, while construction spending slipped 1.3% from revised May reading to $1.21 trillion SAAR in June.

Other markets: The dollar rebounded slightly from a recent selloff, with the ICE Dollar Index DXY, +0.19%  rising 0.1% to 92.975.

Read: July’s best-performing assets—in charts

European stocks SXXP, +0.83%  traded higher, while Asian markets closed mainly with gains.

Oil prices CLU7, -1.14%  wobbled, slipping below $50 a barrel, as traders assessed U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuela—a member of OPEC and a major exporter of oil to the U.S.—which didn’t include threatened measures against the country’s petroleum industry.

Meanwhile, gold futures GCZ7, +0.38%  traded slightly higher.

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