S&P, Nasdaq rise on bank and tech gains; IBM dents Dow

Gains were held down by the two-day advance of the pound, which has risen against a weaker US dollar after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa called for an early national election in order to shore up her domestic political support as she prepares to begin negotiations with officials in Brussels over the country's exit from the European Union. Excluding one-time items, IBM reported earnings of $2.38 a share, topping the FactSet consensus estimate of $2.35.

Energy companies skidded. Marathon Oil sank 54 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $15.20 and Occidental Petroleum gave up 70 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $62. Coupled with an underwhelming Beige Book that highlighted the persistent lack of inflationary pressures, and technical resistance in the S&P 500 at 2,355, the averages continued to lose ground throughout the afternoon, leaving the blue-chip index and S&P in the red for a second day.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Wednesday, aided by banks and technology stocks, while a drop in IBM weighed on the Dow.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (NYSEARCA:QQQ) bucked the downtrend, closing 0.2% higher at 5,860.28.

More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.1 basis points at 2.220%.

Morgan Stanley gained $1.20, or 2.9 percent, to $42.42. Carmakers and auto parts companies are rising, but investors are selling high-dividend companies as bond yields increase. IBM is the fifth-most influential company in the 30-stock average by this metric, and contributed to a 58-point drag on the average.

Morgan Stanley, rose 2.9% after posting a surge in quarterly profit, taking some of the sting out of a disappointing report from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 80.16 points, or 0.39%, to 20,443.12, the S&P 500 lost 0.16 point, or 0.01%, to 2,342.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.06 points, or 0.39%, to 5,872.53. In France the CAC-40 edged up 0.3 percent and Germany's DAX gained 0.2 percent.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 80 new highs and 39 new lows. Brent crude, used to price global oils, fell 28 cents to $54.61 per barrel in London.

Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, led by solid gains in banks. Overall, analysts still expect good first-quarter results from publicly-traded companies, and that was mostly the case Wednesday.

Utilities .SPLRCU , real estate .SPLRCR and consumer staples .SPLRCS , which have risen in the past few days, were down. Despite disappointing results from Goldman Sachs Tuesday morning, most have said their trading units did well, and they're also benefiting from higher interest rates.

Shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo edged up slightly.

IBM slumped 4.9 percent after reporting sales that missed estimates. The FTSE 100 slid 0.4 percent after a 2.5-percent plunge on Tuesday.

BONDS: Bond prices fell, reversing most of their gains from a day earlier.

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