Tech earnings lift Nasdaq to record high; S&P, Dow flat

The Nasdaq hit a record intraday high on Thursday, powered by a spate of strong earnings from technology companies, while the S&P 500 and the Dow were little changed.

Earnings were back in the spotlight, a day after the Trump administration unveiled a tax reform plan that proposed deep tax cuts for businesses, but offered little detail about its implementation.

“The market is focused more on growth and earnings now than what is coming out of the administration,” said Ryan Caldwell, chief investment officer at Chiron Investment Management.

“It is good to see they are looking at taxes, and it’s good to know they are aggressive, but the implementation looks more like an end-of-the-year event.”

The S&P 500 technology index .SPLRCT rose 0.5 percent, led by PayPal (PYPL.O), which hit an all-time high after raising its full-year earnings forecast.

Technology stocks will remain in focus, with sector heavyweights Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O) reporting results after the bell on Thursday.

At 12:54 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 3.64 points, or 0.02 percent, at 20,978.73, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 0.99 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,388.44 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 19.00 points, or 0.32 percent, at 6,044.22.

Energy .SPNY was the loser among the top 11 major S&P 500 sectors, falling 1.8 percent on the back of a more than 2 percent decline in oil prices.

Financials .SPSY, which had risen for the past three days, were down 0.84 percent.

“I think in financials, it’s some profit-taking off a very good run week-to-date after the French elections,” Caldwell said.

Comcast (CMCSA.O) rose 3 percent, making it the top stock on the S&P. The company’s profit beat analysts’ estimates on strong subscriber growth.

American Airlines (AAL.O) dropped 7 percent after the company said it had offered a mid-contract pay increase for pilots and flight attendants.

The news pulled down shares of other U.S. carriers, including Delta (DAL.N) and United Continental (UAL.N).

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,441 to 1,402. On the Nasdaq, 1,374 issues fell and 1,366 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 66 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 153 new highs and 31 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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