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Dow hits record high as Wall Street cheers strong earnings season

CNBC logo CNBC 7/31/2017 Fred Imbert
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U.S. equities rose on Monday as Wall Street cheered on what's been a strong earnings season.

The Dow Jones industrial average hit a record high, trading 59 points higher, with Boeing contributing the most gains. Boeing shares rose 1.3 percent after announcing it expects a record number of aircraft orders from India. The announcement came about a week after posted better-than-expected quarterly results.

The S&P 500 hovered around breakeven, with real estate and information technology leading decliners and a rise financials and energy offsetting those losses. The Nasdaq composite lagged, falling 0.15 percent as large-cap tech stocks like Facebook and Alphabet pulled back.

This earnings season has largely provided positive surprises for investors. Seventy-three percent of the S&P 500 companies that had reported as of Friday had topped estimates on both the top and bottom lines, according to data from FactSet.

These results, along with stabilizing oil prices and persistently subdued sovereign bond yields, have allowed the stock market to keep notching record highs, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

"We keep seeing political and geopolitical tension creeping up and the market seems to be taking that in stride," Cardillo said.

North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile last week which landed in the Sea of Japan, raising concerns that more parts of the U.S. could be at risk of an attack. Meanwhile in Washington, the White House saw a major shake-up after John Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as President Trump's chief of staff.

Equities reached record highs last week, but some strategists say the technical backdrop for stocks shows investors should be cautious.

"The markets are entering a historically weak seasonal period accompanied by rising investor optimism. Historically, the period from August through October has seen stocks struggle and a period when corrections have tended to occur most often," Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird, said in a note.

Up on the earnings docket for this week are Apple, Mondelez, Yum Brands and Tesla, among others.

In other corporate news, Discovery Communications agreed to buy Scripps Networks for $14.6 billion in cash and stock, or $90 per share.

In economic news, pending home sales rose 1.5 percent in June. U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly, with the benchmark 10-year yield trading at 2.298 percent and the two-year yield around 1.351 percent.

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