January 16, 2020 / 3:27 PM / 7 days ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500 crosses 3,300 on Morgan Stanley earnings, tech rally

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* U.S. retail sales increase 0.3% in December

* Chipmakers rise after TSMC’s strong outlook

* Morgan Stanley jumps on new objectives, earnings

* Indexes up: Dow 0.49%, S&P 0.46%, Nasdaq 0.70% (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes hit record highs on Thursday, with the S&P 500 crossing the 3,300 mark for the first time, as upbeat earnings from Morgan Stanley and a tech rally added to optimism from an initial U.S.-China trade deal.

Morgan Stanley’s shares jumped 5.6% after the Wall Street bank beat fourth-quarter profit estimates and raised its performance goals, wrapping up earnings of big U.S. lenders on a strong note.

Technology stocks provided the biggest boost, with Apple Inc up more than 1% and chipmakers gaining after a strong forecast from the world’s top contract chipmaker TSMC signaled a recovery in the sector.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index climbed 1.3%.

Global stock markets scaled new highs after Washington and Beijing on Wednesday signed a deal that paused an 18-month long tariff war that had bruised financial markets and crimped global growth.

China is expected to boost purchases of U.S. goods and services in exchange for the rolling back of some tariffs as part of the deal, but concerns remain with several thorny issues still unresolved.

“The Phase 1 trade deal has been largely priced into markets,” said Peter Kenny, founder of Strategic Board Solutions LLC.

“Any movement forward from here, at least in the near-term, is going to be driven by earnings. So far, we do see a sort of a positive tone set by the financials.”

Analysts expect earnings at S&P 500 companies to have dropped 0.5% in the fourth quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data, the second consecutive decline.

At 9:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.49% at 29,173.11. The S&P 500 rose 0.46% to 3,304.56 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.70% to 9,323.93.

Data from the Commerce Department showed U.S. retail sales rose 0.3% in December, in-line with economists’ expectations.

The numbers follow disappointing holiday sales reports from retailers including Target Corp and J.C. Penney Co Inc that had raised concerns about the sector’s health.

Signet Jewelers Ltd jumped 33.8% after raising 2020 adjusted earnings estimate on the back of upbeat holiday sales.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp slid to the bottom of S&P 500, down 7.2%, after the custodian bank missed estimates for quarterly profit.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.48-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 3.55-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 67 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 131 new highs and one new low. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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