US stocks finished mostly higher on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 rising to its highest in more than five months, led by big gains in banks and transportation companies like airlines and railroads.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 79 points, or 0.32%, to 25,199, the S&P 500 gained six points, or 0.22%, to 2,816 and the Nasdaq Composite fell one point, or 0.01%, to 7,854.
Upbeat earnings from railroad CSX Corp and airline United Continental helped lift the S&P 500 industrials index, which gained 1.1% and was among the day’s best-performing sectors. The Dow Jones Transport Average jumped 2.3%, its biggest daily advance in three months.
Economic data showed that housing starts fell 12.3% in June to a nine-month low as homebuilders struggled with higher lumber prices and persistent land and labor shortages.
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book revealed 11 of the 12 districts of Fed were growing at a “modest” pace or even faster. Investors also watched Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reiterate the US central bank’s desire to raise rates further this year and say he sees few signs that an economic recession is on the horizon.
Berkshire Hathaway led the financial sector higher, climbing 5.3% on news that the company eliminated a restriction on its ability to buy back its own stock.
Morgan Stanley shares added 2.8% after the investment bank reported better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Amazon.com’s stock market value briefly reached $900 billion for the first time, marking a major milestone in its 21-year trajectory.
Shares of Google parent Alphabet edged lower after EU antitrust regulators hit the tech company with a record $5 billion fine.
US-listed stocks of Ericsson jumped 8.3% after the Swedish telecom equipment maker said it swung to an operating profit in the second quarter.
In Asia, shares were trading moderately higher on Thursday in morning session, taking cues from Wall Street's overnight advance amid stronger-than-expected corporate earnings.
The Nikkei 225 gained by 0.15% while the broader Topix slipped 0.08%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi tacked on 0.2%. Elsewhere, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 drifted higher by 0.08%.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.17%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.29%.