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* Microsoft top boost to all the three major indexes
* Energy, material stocks tumble as commodity prices drop
* Visa slides after 'conservative' 2022 forecast
* Indexes: Nasdaq up 0.49%, Dow falls 0.32%, S&P flat
Oct 27 (Reuters) - The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose on Wednesday
after a robust forecast from Microsoft supported optimism about
the third-quarter earnings season, while a decline in oil prices
hurt shares of energy companies.
Microsoft Corp gained 3.9% to hit a record high
after it guided a strong end to the calendar year, helped by its
booming cloud business. Google-owner Alphabet Inc
jumped 5.5% after reporting a record quarterly profit on a surge
in ad sales.
Their shares, coupled with other mega-cap growth names
Amazon.com and Tesla Inc, provided the biggest
boost to the Nasdaq index.
Communication services and consumer discretionary
led gains among the 11 major S&P 500 sectoral indexes,
while economy-sensitive energy and materials
declined the most.
"Markets were in a lock-step higher and a lock-step lower
phase and we now see signs of healthy markets with interest for
individual companies based on their earnings rather than market
wide moves right now," said Anthony Denier, chief executive
officer of trading platform Webull.
"We see tech as a clear leader on strong earnings and due to
supply chain and inflation issues affecting other sectors."
A largely upbeat earnings reports have helped drive the S&P
500 and the Dow to all-time highs this week, with
market participants gauging how companies are navigating
supply-chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and rising price
Profits for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 37.6%
year-on-year in the third quarter. Out of the 192 companies that
have reported earnings, 82.8% have beaten analyst expectations,
according to Refinitiv IBES data.
At 12:06 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 115.61 points, or 0.32%, at 35,641.27 and the S&P 500
was down 1.46 points, or 0.03%, at 4,573.33, dragged down
by Visa Inc which slipped 5.4% on its 'conservative' 2022
The Nasdaq Composite was up 75.06 points, or 0.49%,
A move into the perceived safety of technology stocks was
also triggered after some U.S. Senate Democrats proposed taxing
billionaires' unrealized gains from their assets, while concerns
around interest rate-hike resurfaced ahead of the Federal
Reserve's policy meeting next week.
Major lenders including Bank of America and JPMorgan
slipped and the S&P 500 banks index dropped
1.8% tracking a flattening U.S. yield curve.
"The Fed cannot continue to ignore rising prices and they
can say its transitory all they want but corporate guidance do
not show that ... it is time for the Fed to stop printing money,
begin tapering and raise rates," said Dennis Dick, a trader at
Bright Trading LLC.
"Taxing unrealized gains is a spooky thing. We have a
government that is not scared to tax and that effectively
affects investor sentiment."
Robinhood Markets Inc tumbled 9.4% after the retail
broker reported downbeat third-quarter revenue as trading levels
declined for cryptocurrencies including dogecoin.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.92-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and for a 2.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 32 new 52-week highs and four new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 52 new highs and 94 new lows.
(Reporting by Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru;
Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Shounak Dasgupta and Maju