US STOCKS-Wall St climbs in wake of Washington deal; IBM drops

Reuters

* IBM, eBay earnings drag tech sector

* Goldman Sachs falls after earnings

* Verizon earnings boost lifts telecoms

* Indexes: Dow off 0.23 pct; S&P up 0.46 pct; Nasdaq up 0.45pct

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday asinvestors assessed the ramifications of an agreement bylawmakers in Washington to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and endthe partial shutdown of the government, but a decline in IBMpulled the Dow lower.

Congress on Wednesday approved an 11th-hour deal to end apartial government shutdown and pull the world's biggest economyback from the edge of default that could have brought aboutfinancial calamity.

The political wrangling has led some investors to believethe U.S. Federal Reserve will have no choice but to leave itsfiscal stimulus measures in place for at least several months asthe damage caused to the economy becomes apparent.

A Reuters survey showed economists have grown lessoptimistic about prospects for the economy as the fight overfiscal policy takes its toll.

"The scare that was created by the lengthy delay inresolving the issue has created a situation that has taken Fedtapering off the table for a considerable period. That is viewedas bullish," said Stephen Massocca, managing director at WedbushEquity Management LLC in San Francisco.

"What is going to hold it back is earnings are not going tobe good and from what we've seen so far - IBM, eBay - we willsee more of the same and that is going act as a restraint."

The Dow was dragged lower by International Business MachinesCorp's shares hitting a two-year low a day afterreporting weaker than expected revenue. The tech bellwether wasalso the worst performing stock on the S&P 500, trading down 6.3percent to $174.98.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.48 points or0.23 percent, to 15,338.35, the S&P 500 gained 7.97points or 0.46 percent, to 1,729.51 and the Nasdaq Composite added 17.334 points or 0.45 percent, to 3,856.765.

According to Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning,of the 79 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings,64.6 percent have topped Wall Street expectations, above the 63percent beat rate since 1994 but below the 66 percent averageover the past four quarters.

On a revenue basis, 54.4 percent of companies in the S&P 500have bested Wall Street estimates, below the 61 percent averagesince 2002 but above the 49 percent average for the past fourquarters.

EBay Inc dropped 3.4 percent at $51.67 as thebiggest drag on the Nasdaq 100 index after the companygave a disappointing holiday forecast on Wednesday, saying theU.S. economic environment had deteriorated partly because of thegovernment shutdown. The S&P technology index declined 0.3 percent, the only major S&P sector innegative territory.

Goldman Sachs shares fell 2.6 percent to $158.05after the fifth-largest U.S. bank by assets said its quarterlyprofit dropped amid weak bond-trading volumes.

Verizon Communications Inc was a bright spot asshares rose 3.6 percent to $48.97 after the company postedstronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenue. TheS&P telecom index climbed 1.8 percent as the bestperforming of the ten major S&P sectors.

Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing newclaims for unemployment benefits dropped from a six-month highlast week but remained elevated as California continued to dealwith a backlog related to computer problems.

Other data showed the pace of manufacturing growth in theU.S. mid-Atlantic region slowed slightly in October, but firms'optimism about the future hit a 10-year high, a survey showed onThursday.

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