US STOCKS-Microsoft powers Dow, S&P to fresh records
* Microsoft surges on better-than-expected results
* S&P tech sector hits highest level since 2000
* Disney drops on rating downgrade
* Indexes up: Dow 0.22 pct, S&P 0.43 pct, Nasdaq 1.04 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal and Anya George Tharakan
July 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 hitting fresh records, as Microsoft's strong results reinforced optimism about the health of quarterly earnings.
Microsoft surged 6.9 percent to $56.75, providing the biggest boost to the three major indexes, after its results handily beat expectations on strong cloud growth.
Also pushing up technology stocks was Cisco, up 2.2 percent at $30.56. The technology index rose 1.46 percent to its highest level since 2000.
Morgan Stanley was up 2.2 percent at $28.83 after its profit topped analysts' estimates, rounding off upbeat results from the six biggest Wall Street banks. Still, the financial sector was flat. Continuación...