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Wall Street’s major indexes rose on Wednesday as technology stocks soared and reports indicated that U.S. President Donald Trump had secured concessions from the European Union on trade.

The S&P 500 Index pushed higher for the third straight day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped after Dow Jones reported, citing an EU official, that Europe had agreed to lower industrial tariffs, align regulatory standards on medical products and import more U.S. soybeans.

The Dow, which had been weighed by Boeing Inc’s report of higher costs for its aerial refueling tanker program, reversed its earlier downward course. Boeing shares pared losses and were last down 0.6 per cent.

The S&P and the Nasdaq were boosted by gains in the technology sector. Shares of Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp hit record highs earlier in Wednesday’s session. Facebook shares rose 1.3 per cent, and Microsoft shares were trading up 2.9 per cent.

Visa Inc shares also rose 1.9 per cent. Both Facebook and Visa are scheduled to report results after the bell.

Investors noted that strong corporate earnings have helped prop up U.S. stocks despite ongoing concerns about tariffs raising companies’ costs and cutting into their profits.

Of the 148 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 85.8 per cent have topped analyst expectations. If the beat rate holds, it will be the highest on record, dating back to the first quarter of 1994, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“In a nutshell, the market is continuing to be dominated by trade and earnings,” said Leo Grohowski, chief investment officer of BNY Mellon Wealth Management in New York. “Those are the two big issues.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 172.64 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 25,414.58, the S&P 500 gained 25.66 points, or 0.91 per cent, to 2,846.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 91.47 points, or 1.17 per cent, to 7,932.24.

Coca-Cola Co shares rose 1.8 per cent after the beverage company’s quarterly sales and profit beat estimates.

However, General Motors Co shares fell 4.6 per cent after the automaker cut its 2018 profit forecast, citing rising steel and aluminum costs due to tariffs. Ford Motor Co shares dipped 0.4 per cent ahead of its results, scheduled to be announced after the bell.

Shares of AT&T Inc also dropped 4.5 per cent, weighing the most on the S&P, after the wireless carrier’s quarterly revenue missed estimates.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index rose 30.63 points, or 0.19 per cent, to 30.63.

Industrial stocks jumped 2.1 per cent, led by a 14.7-per-cent jump in Toromont Industries Ltd., which reported better-than-expected second-quarter results. Strong financial results also propelled Canadian National Railway Co. 4.2 per cent higher.

Energy stocks increased 0.4 per cent with oil prices.

Oil prices rose for the second consecutive day on Wednesday after U.S. government data showed domestic crude inventories fell to their lowest since February 2015, easing worries about oversupply that have weighed on markets in recent weeks.

Brent crude futures rose 49 cents to settle at $73.93 a barrel, a 0.67-per-cent gain.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 78 cents to settle at $69.30 a barrel, a 1.14-per-cent gain.

U.S. crude inventories fell 6.1 million barrels in the week to July 20, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed, to 404.9 million barrels, their lowest since February 2015. Analysts had expected a decrease of 2.3 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.1 million barrels, EIA said, their lowest since November 2014.

Gasoline stocks fell 2.3 million barrels, EIA data showed, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 713,000-barrel drop. Meanwhile, U.S. Midwest gasoline stockpiles fell to their lowest seasonally since 2015.

“Stronger product demand rounds out a supportive report, encouraging a decent draw to gasoline stocks,” said Matt Smith, director of commodities research at ClipperData.

Reuters and Bloomberg News


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