January 17, 2018 / 3:09 PM / 7 months ago

US STOCKS-Tech stocks lead Wall Street higher; banks drop

* BofA, Goldman Sachs down after results

* Apple slips after brokerage downgrade

* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.22 pct, Nasdaq 0.28 pct (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 17 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes were lifted by modest gains in technology stocks on Wednesday, led by Microsoft, IBM and Intel.

Shares of IBM rose 2.5 percent after Barclays analysts double upgraded the stock to “overweight” and hiked its price target by $59 to $192.

Microsoft was up 0.56 percent and Intel 1.4 percent, driving the S&P technology index’s 0.3 percent rise.

However, Apple’s 0.33 percent was a drag on the sector after Longbow Research downgraded its stock to “neutral”, citing a “good, not great iPhone cycle”.

Bank shares took a beating as investors were disappointed with results from Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Goldman Sachs slipped 2.29 percent after posting a quarterly loss due to a $4.4 billion charge related to the new tax law.

Bank of America fell 1.82 percent after reporting a net profit that nearly halved compared with a year earlier as it booked a $2.9 billion charge stemming from the new federal tax law.

“I think it’s very confusing to look at earnings right now because of the tax change charges,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“Investors are trying to figure out what normalized earnings are in a sort of a new environment for them where interest rates are higher, under changing regulations and the new tax code.”

At 9:35 a.m. ET (1435 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 102.52 points, or 0.4 percent, at 25,895.38, the S&P 500 was up 6.19 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,782.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 20.18 points, or 0.28 percent, at 7,243.87.

Wall Street slipped after a strong start on Tuesday as weakness in GE and a drop in oil prices dragged. The Dow hit the 26,000-mark for the first time but closed more than 200 points below that level.

Ford slipped 5.2 percent after the automaker reported full-year 2017 profit below estimates and provided a downbeat forecast.

Data showed U.S. industrial production increased more than expected in December as unseasonably cold weather boosted demand for heating.

The Federal Reserve said industrial output surged 0.9 percent last month, while economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.4 percent increase.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,742 to 799. On the Nasdaq, 1,564 issues rose and 749 fell. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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