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Market Snapshot: Dow edges higher, U.S. stock indexes aim to extend winning streak

U.S. stocks edged higher Tuesday afternoon, with the main benchmarks attempting to extend a winning run as investors face an onslaught of corporate earnings reports.

What are stock benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
+0.18%

was up 61 points, or 0.2%, at 35,802 after rising to an all-time intraday high at 35,892.92 in earlier activity.

The S&P 500
SPX,
+0.35%

was up 13 points, or 0.3%, at 4,579, after also hitting an intraday record, at 4,598.53.

The Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
+0.21%

gained 15 points, or 0.1%, to 15,242. The tech-heavy index traded as high as 15,384, briefly topping its closing record of 15,374.33 from Sept. 7.

On Monday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended at record highs, with the Nasdaq Composite closed within 1% away from a new high.

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What’s driving the market?

“Investors are shrugging off concerns about inflation. Instead, they are focusing on the corporate earnings season, which continues to surprise on both side of the Atlantic,” said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at ThinkMarkets, in a note.

See: Why it’s wrong to compare today’s inflation surge to 1970s-style ‘stagflation’

The S&P 500 index has advanced for eight of the last nine sessions as third-quarter earnings reports have largely topped expectations.

“Companies are still able to put through a lot of their prices increases,” said Paul Nolte, a senior portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management, in a phone interview Tuesday. “So far, it seems the consumer is taking higher prices in stride.”

Tuesday’s earnings wave included General Electric Co.
GE,
+2.24%
,
3M Co.
MMM,
+0.14%
,
and, after the market close, Google parent Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL,
+1.47%

and Microsoft Corp.
MSFT,
+0.65%
.
Social-media giant Facebook Inc.
FB,
-4.22%

fell 5% after it surpassed third-quarter earnings estimates but issued a revenue outlook below Wall Street forecasts.

In economic data released Tuesday, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that home prices increased nationally 19.8% from a year ago in August, roughly in line with the previous month’s increase. The separate 20-city index, which measures price appreciation among a group of major metropolitan areas across the country, showed a 19.7% year-over-year gain, down from a revised 20% annual gain the month before.

Meanwhile, U.S. new-home sales increased 14% to an annual rate of 800,000 in September, the government said Tuesday. The median forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch was that new home sales would come in at an annual rate of 760,000 for September.

“The housing market is strong,” said Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein, in a phone interview Tuesday. “Interest rates are very low,” he said, while “housing demand is very high.”

The Conference Board said its U.S. consumer confidence index rose to 113.8 in October from a revised 109.8 a month earlier. The gain follows three straight declines in sentiment. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a decline to 108.

“It was encouraging, certainly, to see consumer confidence tick up,” said Winograd. “Consumer confidence has tracked the COVID situation pretty closely, and with the delta variant fading, it’s good to see consumers responding.”

Which companies are in focus?

Shares of General Electric were up 2.3% after the industrial conglomerate reported third-quarter profit and industrial free cash flow that beat expectations but revenue that surprisingly fell, while providing an upbeat full-year earnings outlook.

3M shares were up less than 0.1% after the maker of Post-it Notes and diversified industrial company topped forecasts for the third quarter.

Shares of Lockheed Martin Corp.
LMT,
-12.23%

dropped 12% after the defense contractor’s profit and sales fell and sales came in below consensus estimates and the company said it would reassess its five-year business plan.

Raytheon Technologies Corp.
RTX,
-2.25%

reported earnings and revenue that topped forecasts while raising its 2021 outlook. Shares were down 2.6%.

Shares of drugmaker Eli Lilly Co.
LLY,
+1.23%

were up 0.9% after missing estimates on earnings but topping sales expectations.

United Parcel Service Inc.
UPS,
+7.35%

reported third-quarter profit and revenue that beat expectations, with all business segments topping forecasts. Shares rose more than 7%.

What are other markets doing?

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.620%

fell about 1 basis points to 1.62%. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
DXY,
+0.13%
,
a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1%.

Oil futures moved higher, with the U.S. benchmark
CL00,
+1.00%

up 1.1% at $84.61 a barrel. Gold futures
GC00,
-0.61%

settled 0.7% lower at $1,793.40 an ounce.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index
SXXP,
+0.75%

ended 0.7% higher, while London’s FTSE 100
UKX,
+0.76%

gained 0.8%.

The Shanghai Composite
SHCOMP,
-0.34%

was down 0.3%, while the Hang Seng Index
HSI,
-0.36%

fell 0.4% and Japan’s Nikkei 225
NIK,
+1.77%

jumped 1.8%.

—Steve Goldstein contributed to this report.

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