Techs, Upbeat Data Boost Stocks…..

U.S. equities finished higher, with the technology sector providing the boost, supported by stronger-than-expected earnings and raised guidance from soon-to-be Dow member Salesforce.com. Moreover, durable goods orders extended a strong rebound from April’s plunge to keep the recovery picture intact, and Dick’s Sporting Goods topped quarterly forecasts and offered an upbeat look at current quarter activity. However, caution set in ahead of tomorrow’s much-anticipated speech from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. In other equity news, Toll Brothers came under pressure despite posting positive quarterly figures. Treasury yields were mixed and the U.S. dollar gave up an early advance to finish lower, while crude oil prices were nearly unchanged and gold gained ground. Europe finished higher, while markets in Asia were mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 84 points (0.3%) to 28,332, while the S&P 500 Index rose 35 points (1.0%) to 3,479, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 199 points (1.7%) to 11,665. In moderate volume, 745 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 3.4 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil inched $0.04 higher to $43.39 per barrel and wholesale gasoline lost $0.01 to $1.26 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price was up $24.33 to $1,952.51 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—moved 0.1% lower to 92.94.

The S&P 500 has jumped back to all-time highs, meaning the rally since March is now an “official” bull market.

Durable goods orders stronger than expected, mortgage applications drop…..

July preliminary durable goods orders jumped 11.2% month-over-month (m/m), versus the Bloomberg estimate of a 4.8% rise and compared to June’s upwardly-revised 7.7% increase. Ex-transportation, orders advanced 2.4% m/m, versus forecasts of a 2.0% increase and compared to June’s favorably-adjusted 4.0% gain. Moreover, orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, gained 1.9%, compared to projections of a 1.7% rise, while the prior month’s figure was upwardly-revised to a 4.3% increase. Gains were broad-based, led by demand for motor vehicles and parts, communications equipment, computers and related products, and electrical equipment, appliances and components.

The MBA Mortgage Application Index fell 6.5% last week, following the prior week’s 3.3% decline. The drop came as a 10.2% drop in the Refinance Index more than offset a 0.4% increase for the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate dipped 2 basis points (bps) to 3.11%.

Treasuries were mixed, as the yield on the 2-year note fell 3 bps to 0.13%, while the yield on the 10-year note ticked 1 bp higher to 0.70%, and the 30-year bond rate rose 3 bps to 1.41%.

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