S&P, Dow set records; dollar hits 4-month high

Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:08pm EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Upbeat company earnings lifted U.S. and European stock prices on Wednesday, with the Dow and Standard & Poor's 500 setting record highs, while the dollar reached a four-month peak on bets the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates by year-end.

The impressive run in major equity markets around the globe led investors to reduce their safe-haven positions in U.S. and German government debt, sending their yields higher.

Oil prices fell to a two-month low before U.S. data that may signal whether a supply glut in the top consuming country was easing.

"For the rally to sustain we are going to need to see continued improvement in the earnings and economic activity," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

Shortly after their open, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 14.72 points, or 0.08 percent, to 18,573.73, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 3.23 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,167.01 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was 27.29 points, or 0.54 percent higher, at 5,063.66.

Microsoft (MSFT.O: Quote) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote) were the latest U.S. companies whose quarterly results topped analysts estimates.

Across the Atlantic, SAP (SAPG.DE: Quote), Europe's largest software group, and ASML Holding (ASML.AS: Quote), a supplier to semiconductor makers, reported quarterly results that beat forecasts.

They helped propel Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 up 0.58 percent to 1,340 points.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., July 20, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid