January 22, 2020 / 7:20 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq on track for record closing highs

* IBM shares jump on strong forecast, earnings

* Boeing extends its losses after 737 MAX delay

* Tesla zooms past $100 bln market value

* Indexes up: Dow 0.20%, S&P 0.29%, Nasdaq 0.51% (Updates to late afternoon, changes dateline, byline)

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Wall Street rebounded on Wednesday as a healthy forecast from IBM enticed buyers back to the equity market while investors kept a wary eye on the developing coronavirus outbreak.

Tech shares led all three major U.S. stock averages into the black, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq setting a course to notch new record closing highs, the day after virus fears prompted a sell-off.

“The toggling up and down has to do with short term valuations,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. “Investors have to remain cautious in the short term because price matters.”

Optimism was boosted by International Business Machines , which posted surprise quarterly revenue growth and forecast higher-than-expected full-year profit. Its shares were up 3.2%, and provided the biggest lift to the blue-chip Dow.

Chipmakers rose following a strong forecast from Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding NV.

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index was up 1.0%.

Global precautions have been put in place to curb a viral outbreak from China, which has now claimed 17 lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) has convened to determine whether the situation was a global health emergency.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.26 points, or 0.2%, to 29,255.3, the S&P 500 gained 9.61 points, or 0.29%, to 3,330.4 and the Nasdaq Composite added 48.12 points, or 0.51%, to 9,418.93.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 seven were trading in positive territory. Tech was up the most, while energy was the biggest laggard.

Fourth-quarter earnings season is well under way, with 58 companies in the S&P 500 having reported, 67.2% of which have beaten analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts now expect fourth-quarter earnings to have contracted by 0.8% year-on-year.0.2

Streaming pioneer Neftlix Inc acknowledged stiffer competition in the United States, where quarterly growth fell short of analyst estimates. Its shares were down 3.4%.

Shares of Boeing Co extended their fall, dropping 1.5% in the wake of the planemaker’s announcement that it does not expect approval for its 737 MAX aircraft to return to service until summer.

Tesla Inc extended its rally, rising 6.1% and becoming the first publicly listed U.S. automaker to cross the $100 billion market valuation mark.

On the economic front, sales of existing homes in December blew past economist estimates to reach a near two-year high.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.27-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 108 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154 new highs and 23 new lows. (Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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