Wall St. opens higher on strong quarterly reports

Wall St. opens higher on strong quarterly reports

By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) – Wall Street rose sharply on Thursday as the Greek parliament approved a bailout plan & bluechip companies such as Citigroup <C.N>, eBay <EBAY.O> & Netflix <NFLX.O> reported strong results.

After the Greek vote, the European Central Bank slightly raised its emergency funding for Greek banks to assist them partially reopen after euro zone governments agreed in principle to grant Athens a new three-year loan.

p>"Now that Greece has been taken care of for the time being, the focus has shifted to what's happening on the ground in the U.S.," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

"While U.S. equities are fully valued at the moment, if companies are not able to fulfill heightened expectations of stronger earnings in the second half of the year, we will see some more sideways action."

A majority of U.S. companies that have reported so far have posted strong results for the second quarter, defying expectations that Corporate America would report its worst sales decline in nearly six years on falling profit.

Citigroup reported its highest quarterly profit in eight years & its shares rose as much as 3 percent to a six-and-a-half year high of $58.18, giving the biggest boost to the S&P financial index <.SPSY>.

Goldman Sachs <GS.N> was the biggest drag on the financial index & the Dow as its shares slipped 0.5 percent to $212 after the bank reported its smallest quarterly profit in nearly four years.

At 9:44 a.m. ET (1344 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 45.38 points, or 0.25 percent, at 18,095.55. The S&P 500 <.SPX> was up 11.7 points, or 0.56 percent, at 2,119.1 & the Nasdaq composite <.IXIC> was up 33.37 points, or 0.65 percent, at 5,132.31.

Nine of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The lone laggard was the materials index <.SPLRCM>, dragged down by weak results from paint maker Sherwin-Williams <SHW.N>. Sherwin-Williams fell nearly 11 percent to $252.

UnitedHealth <UNH.N> fell 1.6 percent to $123.9 & was the biggest loser on the Dow as analysts were disappointed with the largest U.S. health insurer's higher-than-expected ratio of medical costs to premiums.

EBay <EBAY.O> rose 4.4 percent to $66.11 after the company reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit & said it was selling its enterprise business.

Netflix jumped 11.4 percent to $110.20 a day after the company added nearly a third more subscribers than expected in the second quarter.

Mattel <MAT.O> & Google <GOOGL.O> are scheduled to report after markets close.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,080 to 615. On the Nasdaq, 1,634 issues rose & 647 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 32 new 52-week highs & six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 79 new highs & 16 new lows.

(Editing by Savio D'Souza)


Source: “Reuters”

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