Wall Street on course to close its strongest month since Feb

(Reuters) – All three major U.S. indexes were set for their best monthly gains since February, with the Dow touching yet another record high.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was, however, trading lower on Monday afternoon weighed down by Apple (AAPL.O), Facebook (FB.O), Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O).

“We’ve been in a little bit of pull-back on some of the tech stocks for the last few days. I think it’s just a matter of the fact that they have had a very strong run,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“The bull market is sort of broadening out and people are taking a few profits off the table on some these stocks that have done exceedingly well.”

Shares of Boeing were up 1.04 percent, making it the top boost to the Dow, after J.P. Morgan analysts raised price target.

Investors have been counting on earnings to support the relatively high valuations for equities, with the S&P 500 trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, above its long-term average of 15 times.

Of the 289 S&P 500 companies that reported results until Friday, 73 percent of them beat analyst expectations. This is above the 71 percent average over the past four quarters, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Apple Inc (AAPL.O), a part of the Dow, is expected to report quarterly results after market close on Tuesday and its performance may hold the sway over tech stocks this week.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., July 20, 2017.Brendan McDermid

At 12:25 a.m. ET (1625 GMT) the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 83.04 points, or 0.38 percent, at 21,913.35, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 1.02 points, or 0.04 percent, at 2,473.12 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 19.44 points, or 0.31 percent, at 6,355.23.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the financial index’s .SPSY 0.68 percent rise leading the gainers.

On data front, contracts to buy previously owned homes rebounded in June after three straight monthly declines.

The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, jumped 1.5 percent to a reading of 110.2.

Oil prices rose on Monday, putting July was on track to become the strongest month for the commodity this year.

Snap shares (SNAP.N) trimmed much of its losses and were down 1.9 percent at $13.55 as a share lockup ended, allowing for sales by early investors.

Discovery Communications (DISCA.O) shares were down 7.5 percent at $24.77 after it said it would buy Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI.O) for $11.9 billion.

Charter Communications Inc shares (CHTR.O) were up 4.9 percent at $388.66 after the U.S. cable operator said on Sunday it was not interested in buying wireless carrier Sprint Corp (S.N).

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by 1,471 to 1,331. On the Nasdaq, 1,668 issues fell and 1,090 advanced.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee, Sweta Singh, and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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