US STOCKS-Microsoft propels Wall Street to new record highs
* Microsoft surges on better-than-expected results
* Morgan Stanley, Abbott also rise after earnings
* Indexes up: Dow 0.24 pct, S&P 0.47 pct, Nasdaq 1.13 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Lewis Krauskopf
July 20 (Reuters) - Wall Street gained on Wednesday, sending the S&P 500 and Dow industrials to fresh records, as Microsoft's strong results boosted the indexes and marked the latest sign that U.S. corporate earnings season may be less dour than feared.
Microsoft shares surged 6.3 percent after the software giant posted sharp growth in its cloud computing business.
The stock was by far the biggest lift to the major indexes and the tech sector.
Defensive sectors such as utilities and telecom have led the market's gains in 2016, while groups such as financials and tech have trailed.
"It seems like the weaker parts of the market are starting to at least try and keep pace with the stronger parts and there really hasn't been a big selloff in the big winners to this point," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey. Continuación...