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Stocks climb as corporate profits rise

Trader Michael Milano on the floor of the

Trader Michael Milano on the floor of the NYSE, Thursday, July 20, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stock indexes inched higher in record territory Wednesday after AT&T, Boeing and others joined the parade of big companies reporting stronger profits than analysts expected.

Stocks that pay big dividends were particularly strong after the Federal Reserve took a pause in its slow-moving campaign to lift interest rates, as Treasury yields sank lower.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 0.03 percent to 2,477.83, adding a whisper to its record high set a day earlier.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 97.58 pointsto close at 21,711.01, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.16 percent to 6,422.75. Both are at record highs.

While announcing its decision to hold short-term rates steady, the Fed said it may begin paring the massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet it built up following the financial crisis “relatively soon,” which some analysts took to mean as September.

Telecom stocks jumped after AT&T reported stronger second-quarter earnings than Wall Street had forecast. Its stock rose 5 percent to $38.03.

Boeing was the top-performing stock, and it had its best day in more than eight years, after it raised its forecast for earnings this year and reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter. It jumped 9.9 percent to $233.45 — AP

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