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Published on: Monday, July 18, 2016

The Dow industrials has ended at a record high and major indexes have closed a third consecutive week of gains as upbeat economic data and the start of earnings season gave investors confidence the current rally has legs.

Consumer stocks led declines on the S&P 500 on Friday while the financial sector posted a less than 0.2 per cent drop, even as Wells Fargo, whose profits fell in the second quarter, fell 2.5 per cent to $US47.71 to rank as the largest weight on the S&P.

But expectations for S&P earnings ticked up to a 4.7 per cent decline from a view of a five-per cent drop earlier in the week, cementing hopes that an earnings contraction bottomed in the first quarter.

Adding to investor confidence, US retail sales rose more than expected in June, bolstering views that economic growth picked up in the second quarter.

"When you go into earnings season with negative bias in the market it bodes well for stocks. Any positive surprises will force shorts to cover and gives an upbeat tone," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.14 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 18,516.55, the S&P 500 lost 2.01 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 2,161.74 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.47 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,029.59.

The Dow closed at a record high and joined the S&P 500 in posting fresh intraday historic highs.

LONDON - European stock markets closed mixed, with the shares of travel and leisure companies dropping after an attack in the French city of Nice that killed more than 80 people.

A gunman at the wheel of a heavy truck ploughed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice late on Thursday, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more in what French President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.3 per cent, France's CAC equity index lost 0.5 per cent while Germany's DAX trod water, shedding 1.40 points, or 0.01 per cent 10.066.90.

Shares in French hotels operator Accor fell four per cent, while shares in airlines such as Air France-KLM , easyJet and British Airways' owner International Consolidated Airlines Group also fell by between 1.6 to three per cent.

Shares in Swiss luxury goods companies Swatch and Richemont also slumped after Swatch issued a profit warning, with Swatch shares sliding 12 per cent

HONG KONG - Reassuring Chinese data has lifted world stocks to an eight-month high and Asian shares have closed in the green.

News, though, that China's economy grew a slightly better-than-expected 6.7 per cent in the second quarter as the government stepped up spending helped extend the week's global rally in risk assets.

The Hang Seng index rose 0.5 per cent, to 21,659.25, while the China Enterprises Index gained 0.4 per cent, to 9,049.66 points.

For the week the Hang Seng was up 5.3 per cent, its best weekly performance since April 2015, as Hong Kong equities joined in a global rally driven by positive data from major economies and hopes for an interest rate cut from the Bank of England.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 111.96 points, or 0.50 per cent, to 16,497.85, while China's Shanghai Composite Index treaded water, lifting just0.28 per cent, or 0.01 per cent, at 3,54.30.

WELLINGTON - The S&P/NZX50 Index dipped 7.44 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 7,072.89


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