New York Report: S&P notches a third record close in a row

THE S&P 500 notched a third consecutive record closing high yesterday and other major indexes rose, though disappointing McDonald’s earnings kept the Dow from making significant gains.

Banks and health shares were the day's best performers, with financials advancing for the 10th time in the past 12 sessions. Bank of America led the group, while US-listed shares of UBS rose 3.2 per cent to $19.23 after the Swiss bank’s second-quarter profit beat forecasts despite a lawsuit charge.

Analysts said the market is likely to trend higher in the absence of any weak economic news but would need strong earnings and forecasts to post large gains.

Weaker-than-expected results from McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, weighed on the Dow after the company said full-year results would be “challenged” by falling sales in Europe, its biggest market. Its shares lost 2.7 per cent to $97.58.

Shares of Netflix fell 6.1 per cent in after-hours trading after the company reported a higher profit for the second quarter but added fewer subscribers to its streaming service than analysts expected.

Five of the S&P 500 industry sectors advanced. Trading volume was below average, with 5.2bn shares changing hands on US exchanges.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.81 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 15,545.55. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 3.44 points, or 0.20 per cent, at 1,695.53, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 12.77 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 3,600.39.