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Apple, Boeing keep Wall St afloat, weak earnings stoke growth fears

Credit: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

Wall Street was supported by gains in Apple and Boeing shares on Wednesday, though weak earnings from Caterpillar and Texas Instruments raised concerns of an impact from the U.S.-China trade war on global growth.

By Shreyashi Sanyal and Arjun Panchadar

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Wall Street was supported by gains in Apple and Boeing shares on Wednesday, though weak earnings from Caterpillar and Texas Instruments raised concerns of an impact from the U.S.-China trade war on global growth.

Apple Inc AAPL.O shares rose 1.1% after Morgan Stanley said the iPhone maker's soon-to-be-launched video streaming service, Apple TV+, could boost its services revenue.

But tit-for-tat tariffs by Washington and Beijing prompted profit and revenue warnings from Texas Instruments TXN.O and Caterpillar Inc CAT.N.

Texas Instruments, seen as a proxy for the microchip sector, dropped 6%, weighing on the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX, while Caterpillar shares were flat.

"It's pretty clear there were some tough numbers coming out from bellwether type names like Caterpillar and Boeing, and certainly in the case of Boeing, people are shrugging it off," said Josh Wein, portfolio manager at Hennessy Funds in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Boeing's shares rose 0.7%, lifting the blue-chip Dow Jones index, after the world's largest planemaker reaffirmed the timeline for its grounded 737 MAX's return to service, as investors looked past quarterly profit that more than halved.

The S&P 500 has hovered near its record high this week after signs of progress in trade talks between the world's top two economies.

Investors are now waiting for results from big tech firms, with Microsoft Corp MSFT.O scheduled to report after markets close.

The earnings season has largely been upbeat, with more than 82% of the 124 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far surpassing earnings expectations, according to Refinitiv data. But analysts still project the first earnings contraction since 2016.

At 12:47 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 14.19 points, or 0.05%, at 26,802.29 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 3.96 points, or 0.13%, at 2,999.95.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 7.93 points, or 0.10%, at 8,112.23. A 1.4% gain in Facebook FB.O boosted the tech heavy index after CEO Mark Zuckerberg sought to reassure U.S. lawmakers about the company's planned digital currency, Libra.

A handful of healthcare companies with low exposure to China rose on strong results, helping the S&P 500 healthcare sector .SPXHC climb 0.7%.

Health insurer Anthem Inc ANTM.N and medical device makers Boston Scientific Corp BSX.N, Thermo Fisher Scientific TMO.N all gained between 3% and 6% after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profits.

However, Eli Lilly and Co LLY.N fell 2.4% after the drugmaker missed third-quarter revenue estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.74-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.30-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 14 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 40 new highs and 48 new lows.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Sriraj Kalluvila)

((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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