Nasdaq, S&P 500 scale new peaks as focus turns to earnings, economic data

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City
A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., June 28, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Banks up ahead of their earnings report this week
  • Didi slips on China apps removal confirmation
  • Virgin Galactic falls on $500 mln share sale plan
  • Indexes up: Dow 0.19%, S&P 0.19%, Nasdaq 0.07%

July 12 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes rose on Monday, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hitting record highs, as investors awaited the start of the second-quarter earnings season and a batch of economic data to gauge the next leg of the equity market.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced, with technology (.SPLRCT), communication services (.SPLRCL) and consumer discretionary (.SPLRCD) sectors, which house mega-cap technology stocks Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and (AMZN.O), leading the charge.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Bank of America (BAC.N) and other big banks were up ahead of their earnings report starting on Tuesday, while the banking index (.SPXBK) added 0.9%.

Market participants will closely look at earnings for early clues on the economy and stocks tied to growth, as second-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 65.8%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The benchmark index (.SPX) has rallied 16.6% so far this year, and quarterly reports from corporate America would be closely evaluated to justify the current valuation at which the markets trades. read more

"Earnings are going to be pretty telling and in general be very good," said Sandy Villere, portfolio manager at Villere & Co in New Orleans, Louisiana.

"But we're getting priced for perfection with the market at all time highs and at some point, you could see some profit taking."

Focus will be also on a series of economic reports including headline U.S. inflation data and retail sales later in the week, while also watching Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday for views on inflation and the timing for tapering.

Wall Street has been dictated by concerns over higher inflation and the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant in the past few sessions, with investors seesawing between economy linked-value stocks and tech-heavy growth names.

"The inflation data is likely going to reignite some concern in the near term over how hot things are running," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

"CPI (consumer price index) and PPI (producer price index) coming in above estimates will bring back that tug of war between growth and inflation."

At 11:54 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 67.40 points, or 0.19%, at 34,937.56, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 8.20 points, or 0.19%, at 4,377.75 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was up 10.22 points, or 0.07%, at 14,712.14.

Didi Global Inc (DIDI.N) fell 4.2% after it confirmed China's cyberspace administration notified app stores to remove the ride-hailing company's 25 apps and said the move could impact its revenue in the region. [nL4N2OO25U]

Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE.N) tumbled 12.9% as the space tourism company said it may sell up to $500 million worth of shares, a day after the company completed its first fully crewed test flight into space with billionaire founder Richard Branson on board. read more

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.23-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 61 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 62 new highs and 24 new lows.

Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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