MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500 Closes At Record On Strong Earnings

By Dow Jones Business News, 

MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500 Closes At Record On Strong Earnings

By Anora Mahmudova and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Gains in health care and technology sector stocks on the back of impressive profits from Biogen Idec Inc. and Apple Inc. pushed the S&P 500 to close at a record on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 (SPX) closed 3.48 points, or 0.2%, higher at 1,987.01, closing at a record level for the 26th time this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was weighed down by Boeing Inc. and closed 26.91 points, or 0.2%, lower at 17,086.63. The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) ended the session up 17.68 points, or 0.4%, to 4,473.70, with biotechnology companies leading the gains.

Read the recap of MarketWatch's live blog of today's stock-market action.

Investors seemed to have brushed off news that two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday near where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was downed as well as continued ground attacks on Gaza.

Kim Caughey Forrest, investment strategist at Fort Pitt Capital said that geopolitical issues in the Middle East and Ukraine, may not affect businesses in the short-term, but in the long-term, "we will be affected if American companies cannot move freely in the world."

"At this point, overall earnings growth has already been priced in. Wall Street's full-year earnings estimates are too optimistic and eventually will come down," Forrest added.

The data calendar was empty for Wednesday, leaving investors to fix their attention on corporate earnings.

Biogen Idec Inc. ( BIIB ) jumped 11% after the biotechnology company's latest earnings results impressed investors all around, beating estimates on sales, profits, and guidance for the full fiscal year.

Boeing ( BA ) fell 2.3% even as the plane manufacturer lifted its core earnings-per-share outlook for 2014.

PepsiCo (PEP) rallied 2% after the company's second-quarter profit beat estimates and it lifted earnings guidance.

Delta Air Lines Inc. shares ( DAL ) climbed 3.7% after the company's second-quarter profit jumped 17%, driven by higher passenger and operating revenue. (Read more about the day's notable movers here: intuitive-surgical-among-stocks-to-watch-2014-07-23.)

Investors also reacted to big tech earnings that came late Tuesday. Apple ( AAPL ) shares rose 2.6% after earnings that topped expectations. Also read: 5 reasons why Apple shares could rise another 16% this year.

After the close, Facebook Inc. ( FB ) reported second-quarter earnings that topped estimates as revenue surged 61%. Shared rallied 3% in after-hours trading. Read: Live blog of Facebook's earnings call.

Among other markets, the Stoxx Europe 600 index edged up 0.1% Wednesday, while Asia also logged a mostly-higher finish.

Crude oil prices (CLU4) rose ahead of key supply data, while gold prices (GCQ4) were flat. The dollar rose against the British pound (GBPUSD)(GBPUSD) after minutes from the Bank of England's July meeting showed all members voted to keep monetary policy loose.

More must-reads from MarketWatch:

Michael Lewis tells Conan O'Brien he still thinks the stock market is 'rigged'

S&P 500 vies for technical breakout

Why the markets don't care what happens in the world

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This article appears in: Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , BA , BIIB , DAL , FB

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