Dow Closes Near Record High as Earnings Fuel Bull Run

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Investing.com – The Dow closed just shy of record highs Friday as upbeat quarterly earnings and tech strength overshadowed concerns surging Covid-19 cases pose to the economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.37%, or 399 points to close at 29,476 just shy of its all time high close of 29,569 on Feb. 12. The S&P 500 was up 1.36%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 1.02%.

As the curtain on quarterly earnings closes, a wave of better-than-expected reports from a string of companies including Disney and Cisco underpinned investor sentiment.

Dow component Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) reported a narrower-than-expected loss as well as subscriber numbers that topped Wall Street expectations, sending its shares more than 2% higher.

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), meanwhile, beat Wall Street estimates as the work from home trend continued to boost product demand. Its shares rose 7%.

DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) rose about 4% after rolling out better-than-expected guidance as the return of major sports boosted customer engagement and quarterly results.

Sentiment on semiconductor stocks was handed a boost thanks to upbeat commentary from Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) following better-than-expected third-quarter earnings. RBC lifted its price target on Applied Materials to $82, from $75, citing the “solid beat and raise.”  The bank said it expects to see “the firm gain market share and beat consensus expectation for fiscal 2021” amid a ramp-up in memory production.

The rise in semis added to gains in the broader tech sector as the Fab 5 stocks moved off session lows.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) were about unchanged on the day, while Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft  (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded higher.

The move higher in the broader market comes in the wake of concerns about the impact on the economy of growing restrictions to curb the surge in cases as New York City is reportedly looking to shut schools as early as next week.

Cases in the U.S. surged above a record 160,000 cases on Thursday, while hospitalizations climbed to a record 67,096, according to the Covid Tracking Project.  

In other news, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) hit a record high, up 2%, after the company said its venture capital arm would be folded back into the business to focus on strategic investments.

Nio (NYSE:NIO), meanwhile, fell nearly 8% after short-seller fund Citron Research suggested it was time to take profit on the stock, citing competition from Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s decision to cut its price on the Model Y in China and an investor base that is unlikely to have staying power.