Strong earnings lift investor spirits after Trump slump (ADSK, DE, CAT, WMT)

USA stocks rallied on Friday as a set of strong corporate earnings lifted investor spirits in a week dominated by uncertainty surrounding Donald Trump’s presidency.

Trump left on Friday for his first foreign trip since taking office in the hopes of shifting the focus away from domestic controversies.

While Wall Street ended higher it failed to fully regain all the ground lost in Wednesday’s big selloff after reports earlier this week that Trump tried to interfere in the federal investigation. “With Washington not in the headlines, we can focus on the economy, and the economy is in good shape in our view”.

Investors fear that the political uproar in Washington could hinder Trump from pursuing his promise of fiscal stimulus, a key driver for Wall Street’s record-setting run.

At 9:39 a.m. ET (1339 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 53.44 points, or 0.26 percent, at 20,716.46, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 9.23 points, or 0.39 percent, at 2,374.95 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 32.44 points, or 0.54 percent, at 6,087.57.

Farm machinery maker Deere surged 7.3 per cent after reporting a 62 per cent rise in second-quarter earnings to US$802.4 million and describing an improvement in equipment demand in South America.

Software developer Autodesk jumped 14.7 per cent and was the biggest percentage gainer on the S&P after reporting better-than-expected quarterly revenue.

All of the 11 major S&P industry sectors ended the day higher.

Deere helped lift Caterpillar Inc by 2.3 percent. It may not have broken the S&P 500’s momentum, but it certainly made a dent.

Oil rose more than 2 percent, helping energy shares, amid talks of an extension to the supply limit deal among OPEC members.

Wal-Mart was up 1.8 percent at $78.95 after BMO upgraded the big-box retailer’s stock to “market perform” from “underperform” following higher-than-expected quarterly sales at established USA stores. The move followed Wal-Mart’s report on Thursday of higher-than-expected quarterly sales at established USA stores.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.13-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.75-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The Nasdaq fell 37.53 points, or 0.6 percent.

The S&P 500 index showed eight new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and 20 new lows.