US STOCKS-S&P 500 at five-month high, but banks weigh…

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, July 13 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 hitting a more than five-month high, as gains in industrials and other areas offset a drop in financials after results from three big Wall Street banks mostly disappointed investors.

The industrial sector gained 0.6 percent, with Boeing, Caterpillar and 3M all up more than 1 percent, in the absence of any trade rhetoric overnight.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States and China could reopen trade talks if Beijing was willing to make significant changes.

Oil prices rose over 1 percent as strike actions in Norway and Iraq hit supplies, boosting the energy sector 0.89 percent, the most among the 11 S&P sectors.

These gains helped the S&P hit 2,804.53, its highest since Feb. 2. The index is now about 2.5 percent from its all-time high of 2,872.87, hit on Jan. 26.

As the trade row continues, investors are looking ahead to what is expected to be a strong second-quarter earning season, though reports on Friday from three of the biggest U.S. banks failed to enthuse. “There’s pretty impressive resilience in spite of the disappointment from the financials, which have been and continue to be a laggard. Even in the face of that, there’s still relative strength,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

Earnings “expectations are certainly elevated from where they were a month ago, but if companies do deliver in general, even with elevated expectations, I believe the market as a whole will continue to move higher, and it will not result in a sell-the-news reaction,” he said.

Citigroup

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