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Dow closes above 22,000 for the first time after Apple jumps on earnings

  • Apple's stock drove the Dow Jones industrial average above 22,000.
  • The tech giant's shares surged about 5 percent after posting quarterly results that blew expectations out of the water.

The Dow Jones industrial average notched another milestone on Wednesday, breaking above 22,000 for the first time.

The 30-stock index rose 52.32 points to close at 22,016.24 with a boost from Apple's stock, which surged 4.73 percent after posting quarterly results that blew expectations out of the water.

The company reported earnings per share of $1.67 on revenue of $45.4 billion. Analysts polled by Reuters expected earnings per share of $1.57 on revenue of $44.89 billion.

Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White said in a note he sees more upside for the stock moving forward. He said: "[W]e believe investors will now feel more confident in owning the stock for the upcoming iPhone 8 cycle that is expected to begin this fall, while also benefitting from the company's capital distribution initiative, attractive valuation and potential new innovations."

If White's assessment is correct, that could mean further gains for the Dow as well. Entering Wednesday's session, Apple's stock was the sixth-largest in terms of price. The Dow is a price-weighted index.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

It took the Dow just 107 trading days to surge to 22,000 from 21,000. Boeing shares have had the biggest points impact on the price-weighted Dow, contributing 380.29 points since March 1, followed by McDonald's and UnitedHealth Group with 171.14 and 166.35 points, respectively.

The Nasdaq composite closed flat at 6,362.65 while the S&P 500 advanced 1.22 points to close at 2,477.57.

"We've come a long way in a very short period of time," said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management. "I think people are now focusing on the macro news, especially on the jobs report."

The three major indexes have notched record highs this year largely in part because of strong quarterly results.

"It's been a remarkable run as equity markets continue to defy expectations," said Mark Heppenstall, CIO at Penn Mutual Asset Management. "I'd say [the market] is going up for the right reason, which is earnings. That's supportive of valuations."

For calendar second quarter, 72 percent of the S&P companies that had reported as of Wednesday morning beat bottom-line expectations and 68 percent on the top line, according to data from Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"We're seeing a lot of divergence in familiar places," said Anthony Conroy, president at Abel Noser. "Usually with those Apple earnings the market would be surging."

Wall Street also set its sights on key economic data. Private U.S. companies added 178,000 jobs last month, according to a report from ADP and Moody's Analytics. But economist polled by Reuters expected an increase of 185,000 jobs.

"[A]t least according to ADP, job growth still remains good and certainly better than what the BLS has said. The BLS estimate for the private sector is 180k on Friday," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, in a note.

"Either way, job growth north of 150k is still enough to put continued downward pull on the unemployment rate and Friday's estimate is for a one tenth decline to 4.3% which would match the lowest level since 2001 and more reason for [quantitative tightening] to start in September," Boockvar said.

Investors have been keeping a close eye on U.S. economic data as they look for clues on when the Federal Reserve will further tighten monetary policy. Wall Street is largely expecting the Fed to hold off on raising interest rates again until at least December, but is expecting the central bank to start rolling off its massive balance sheet next month.

U.S. Treasury yields traded mixed on Wednesday, with the benchmark 10-year yield near 2.266 percent and the two-year yield around 1.359 percent.