Summary

The major domestic equity indexes closed at record highs on Wednesday, due in part to technology stocks, which surpassed a long-standing mark, despite gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average being capped by a sharp drop in IBM shares.

The S&P 500 tech sector broke its previous record closing high that had held since March 2000, during the dot-com and Y2K tech stock bubbles. Tech has been the best-performing sector this year with a 22.8 percent advance.

Vertex rose as much as 26.4 percent to an all-time high of $167, a day after it reported positive results for its cystic fibrosis treatment. The shares closed up 20.8 percent at $159.69, and was the largest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.

IBM was a drag on the Dow after its quarterly revenue came in below expectations. The shares closed down 4.2 percent to $147.53, after having hit a 13-month low of $146.71.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve raised its second-quarter GDP estimate by one-tenth of a percentage point to a 2.5 percent annualized rate after data indicated that homebuilding surged to a four-month high in June. The economy grew at a 1.4 percent pace in the first quarter.

The Dow, S&P, Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell 2000 indexes all set record closing highs.

The current consensus estimate is for an 8.7 percent rise in second-quarter earnings and a 4.6 percent increase in revenue for the S&P 500 companies from a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Morgan Stanley rose 3.3 percent to $46.62 after reporting better-than-expected earnings along with bond trading revenue declines that were modest compared with arch-rival Goldman Sachs.

CSX fell 5.1 percent to $51.87 after the railroad operator’s forecast missed expectations, dragging its peers lower. Union Pacific was down 1.3 percent, while Kansas City Southern fell 0.6 percent.

The transport sector was also hit by declines in airlines as United Continental fell 5.9 percent to $74.24, a day after it forecast “disappointing” passenger unit revenue for the third quarter.

Approximately 5.78 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.41 billion share daily average over the past 20 sessions.

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