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S&P 500 reaches new heights

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 7:21 p.m.
 

NEW YORK — The stock market eked out a record high on Wednesday, as investors weighed positive earnings from the technology industry against disappointing news from Boeing and other companies.

Biotechnology stocks were among the largest gainers. Among big tech names, Apple's earnings topped Wall Street expectations, helped by rising shipments of iPhones. Microsoft also announced results that beat forecasts.

So far, with less than a fourth of U.S.-listed companies reporting their quarterly financial performance, results have been coming in better than expected.

About 72 percent of Standard & Poor's 500 companies that have reported earnings have beaten expectations, and 73 percent have beaten sales forecasts.

“It's a little early, but things seem to be coming in OK,” said Sahak Manuelian, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

Investors have become increasingly optimistic about the latest quarter. On June 30, they expected earnings to rise 4.9 percent from a year earlier. They now expect earnings to increase 5.5 percent.

The S&P 500 rose 3.48 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,987.01, beating its previous record from July 3 by less than two points.

The Nasdaq composite rose 17.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to end at 4,473.70.

The Dow Jones industrial average bucked the trend. It fell 26.91 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,086.63. It was dragged down by Boeing.

The aircraft maker slipped $3.03, or 2 percent, to $126.71, the biggest fall in the Dow, upon reporting revenue Wednesday that missed analysts' expectations.

Biotechnology stocks, meanwhile, helped lift the other major indexes.

Puma Biotechnology, a drug development company, soared after the company disclosed positive trial results for an experimental breast cancer drug. Puma rose $174.40, or 295 percent, to $233.43. Biogen Idec rose $33.93, or 11 percent, to $337.60 after its quarterly results came in above investors' expectations.

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