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U.S. Stocks Inch Up To New Record Closing Highs


After reaching new record intraday highs early in the session, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading day on Monday. Despite the choppy trading on the day, the major averages ended the session at new record closing highs.

The major averages finished the day modestly higher. The Dow inched up 27.13 points or 0.1 percent to 27,359.16, the Nasdaq rose 14.04 points or 0.2 percent to 8,258.19 and the S&P 500 crept up 0.53 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 3,014.30.

The initial strength on Wall Street partly reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Citigroup (C), with the financial giant reporting second quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders seemed reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of quarterly results from a slew of other big-name companies.

Goldman Sachs (GS), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), JPMorgan (JPM), Kraft Heinz (KHC), IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), and America Express (AXP) are among the companies due to report their results this week.

Closely watched reports on retail sales, industrial production, homebuilder confidence and housing starts are also likely to attract attention over the next few days.

On the U.S. economic front, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a report before the start of trading showing regional manufacturing activity rebounded modestly in the month of July.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index climbed to 4.3 in July from a negative 8.6 in June, with a positive reading indicating growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to rise to a positive 2.0.

The bigger than expected rebound by the general business conditions index came after it recorded its first negative reading in over two years in the previous month.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Natural gas stocks showed a significant move to the downside, however, with the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index tumbling by 2.3 percent.

Oil and gas company Callon Petroleum (CPE) posted a steep loss after agreeing to acquire Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO) in an all-stock transaction valued at $3.2 billion.

Oil service and banking stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day, while notable strength was visible among biotechnology stocks.

Within the biotech sector, Galapagos (GLPG) spiked after Gilead Sciences (GILD) agreed to invest $5.1 billion in the company as part of a 10-year global research and development collaboration.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Monday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slid by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a slight uptick after moving modestly higher over the course of the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged down by 1.4 basis points to 2.092 percent.

Looking Ahead

Earnings season starts to pick up steam on Tuesday, with Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo (WFC) among the companies due to report their results before the start of trading.

Trading may also be impacted by reaction to reports on retail sales, industrial production, and homebuilder confidence.

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