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Overnight Markets: Financials lead Wall Street higher ahead of earnings

Overnight Markets: Financials lead Wall Street higher ahead of earnings

US stocks gained on Thursday, with the Dow Jones closing at a record for the 24th time in 2017, led by financials ahead of a roster of corporate results from the US’s biggest banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17 points, or 0.08%, to 21,549, the S&P 500 gained four points, or 0.17%, to 2,447 and the Nasdaq Composite added 10 points, or 0.16%, to 6,271.

The financial index was the highest performer among the 11 major S&P sectors, rising 0.48%. Quarterly earnings kick off on Friday with three of the biggest US banks including JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup reporting results.

Wells Fargo & Co. rose 0.78%, Citigroup Inc. added 0.15% and Dow component JP Morgan Chase & Co. rose 0.64%.

In company news, shares of Nvidia Corp. fell 1.2% after surging to a record close on Wednesday on the back of an upgrade at SunTrust.

Delta Air Lines Inc. reported second-quarter earnings that missed expectations, although revenue rose. Shares fell 1.8%.

Snap Inc. surged 3% after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy, saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a “compelling” opportunity.

The S&P 500 healthcare index was up 0.23%, showing little reaction to US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's unveiling of a revised healthcare bill.

US-listed shares of Novartis AG fell 0.8% despite a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel late Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency approve one of its cancer drugs.

Delta Air Lines Inc on Thursday reported a 21% drop in second-quarter profit because of sharply higher operating costs, despite higher passenger unit revenue, sending its shares down about 1.7%.

Target Corp rose 4.2% after an upbeat second-quarter forecast. The news boosted other retailers, with Wal-Mart up 1.4% and Costco edging up 0.9%.

In Asia, shares were mixed on Friday in morning session as markets digested the second day of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony.

Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 0.19%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.17%, while Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.47%.

Greater China markets traded sideways. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up 0.01% to hold near two-year highs. Mainland markets recorded declines. The Shanghai Composite slid 0.14% and the Shenzhen Composite slid 0.20%.

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