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Dow holds above 20,000 as investors focus on earnings

The Dow Jones Industrial Average stayed firmly above 20,000 on Thursday, after breaching the milestone a day earlier, while losses in tech stocks weighed on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes.

The S&P technology index’s .SPLRCT 0.47 fall led the decliners, weighed down by Qualcomm (QCOM.O) and Alphabet (GOOGL.O).

Qualcomm fell 5.1 percent to $54.04 after the chipmaker reported a lower-than-expected rise in quarterly revenue. The stock was the biggest drag on the two indexes.

Alphabet, which is scheduled to report results after the bell, was down 0.7 percent at $852.16.

The post-election rally roared back to life this week following optimism over U.S. President Donald Trump’s pro-growth initiatives and solid earnings, catapulting the Dow above the historic mark.

Trump’s business-friendly decisions since taking office on Friday include signing executive orders to reduce regulatory burden on domestic manufacturers and clearing the way for the construction of two oil pipelines.

Investors also cheered largely positive fourth-quarter earnings, which are expected to show growth of 7 percent, their biggest increase in two years.

“So far the new administration has brought a pro-business approach and everyone is excited about that. But it’s not simple to get Congress and the House to agree on changes to the tax plan and regulation,” said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenberg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.

“We have seen relatively decent earnings and if we can hold that and if we get sales growth of over 3 percent then we’ll get a market that will grow higher.”

Revenue for S&P 500 companies in the fourth quarter is estimated to have risen 4.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

At 11:01 a.m. ET (1601 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 32.03 points, or 0.16 percent, at 20,100.54.

The S&P 500 .SPX was down 0.29 points, or 0.01 percent, at 2,298.08, after hitting a record high of 2300.99.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 4.79 points, or 0.08 percent, at 5,651.55, after hitting a record high of 5669.61

Verizon Communications (VZ.N) fell 1.1 percent to $49.20 after the Wall Street Journal reported the company is exploring a combination with cable company Charter Communications (CHTR.O). Charter was up 8.9 percent at $338.17.

Whirlpool (WHR.N) fell 6.9 percent to $177.16 after the world’s largest maker of home appliances posted a quarterly profit that came in below expectations.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 22,000 to 259,000 for the week ended Jan. 21, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,485 to 1,308. On the Nasdaq, 1,695 issues fell and 963 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 60 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 113 new highs and 10 new lows.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Reuters