Wall Street opens at record on strong earnings

Dow futures rise 100 points on strong earningsMore

USA stock-index benchmarks on Wednesday finished modestly higher, with all three gauges recording all-time highs, supported by better-than-expected corporate results, and as the Federal Reserve offered an update to its monetary-policy outlook.

They are not expected to raise rates, but their comments will be analysed for any clues about the timing of future interest rate increases.

The S&P 500 index eked out a meager 0.70 point rise to end at 2,477.83, with telecoms climbing 3% on the back of stronger-than-expected earnings from AT&T.

With equity markets at record levels, investors have been counting on strong earnings to justify the relatively expensive valuations for stocks.

At 9:36am ET (1336 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 95.55 points, or 0.44%, at 21 708.98 and the S&P 500 was up 2.24 points, or 0.09%, at 2 479.37. Among blue-chip companies, Boeing shares (BA) jumped more than 8%, powering the benchmark into record territory.

Materials, healthcare and financials were the main laggards on Wednesday.

"The market is right to be driven by earnings and so far we've had enough upside surprises".

European Union threatens Poland with sanctions over judiciary powers overhaul
Duda did, however, sign into law a bill giving the justice minister power to name the heads of all lower courts, in what critics see as a blow to the country's system of checks and balances.

"A number of major companies have stepped up to meet the challenge this quarter, beating the Street handily to provide fundamental support to the market rally", said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, in a note.

ANALYST VIEWPOINT: "The theme remains with earnings, propelling markets once again to fresh highs within the US while the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting conclusion overnight provided another relief for equity markets". A rise of nearly 1% in the early going (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-rally-continues-as-optimism-builds-ahead-us-supply-data-2017-07-26) looks to stretch crude's week-to-date gain to about 5%. Treasury yields took a modest step backward as the Federal Reserve prepares to wrap up a two-day meeting on interest rates, which most investors expect to be uneventful.

Economic docket: The Commerce Department said new-home sales in June came in at a 610,000 annual pace, a pickup of 0.8% from downwardly revised May data. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news. Separately, AT&T Inc., Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. all rallied following their results.

Ford Motor fell 1.9 percent after the automaker warned that its full-year automotive operating margin and cash flow would be lower than in 2016.

Ford shares fell 2.5% in morning trading, after the U.S. carmaker reported almost flat revenues for the quarter and warned investors that key markets, including North America and Europe, would be less profitable this year than last.

Insurer Anthem Inc.(ANTM) shares slid 2.9% as quarterly earnings came in above expectations, but revenue fell short.

Facebook Inc.'s (FB) release is on tap after the market's close Wednesday. It closed at a record Tuesday, along with several other indexes of US stocks. Gold futures settled lower, but jumped in electronic trade, and a key dollar index reversed course to fall 0.2% following the Fed decision.

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