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Stocks - S&P Continues Flirt With Record as Tech Rallies

By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P continued to flirt with record intraday highs Wednesday, led by a rally in tech on the back of bullish earnings from IBM (NYSE:IBM) and improved sentiment on chip stocks.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3%. The Dow gained 0.15% and the Nasdaq Composite was up almost 0.6%.

IBM (NYSE:IBM) led the rally in tech, rising 3% as Big Blue's better-than-expected quarterly results were greeted by several endorsements from Wall Street.

Morgan Stanley raised its price target on IBM (NYSE:IBM) to $164 from $155, but said the return to revenue growth for the company was driven by "less sustainable" tailwinds like the new Red Hat unit and currency gains.

Cantor Fitzgerald and Citigroup (NYSE:C) also raised their price targets on IBM.

Chip stocks also powered the broader averages to intraday highs as a sunnier outlook from chipmaker ASML (NASDAQ:ASML) stoked sentiment on the sector ahead of key earnings from chip bellwether Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) after the closing bell.

But Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) fell 2% as its weaker outlook on growth for the first quarter raised concerns about the impact of rising competition from rivals like Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

Against the backdrop of gains in tech, industrials remained under pressure as Boeing (NYSE:BA) struggled to gain its footing following an announcement that its 737 Max would likely be grounded until mid-2020.

Boeing said its decision to advise customers its grounded 737 Max jet was unlikely to be recertified until mid-year was not due to any new technical issues

Energy, meanwhile, was the worst-performing sector as oil prices slumped after the International Energy Agency warned of surplus in crude at a time when concerns about softer demand persist.

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