* Greek parliament votes in favor of austerity measures
* Citigroup hits 6-year high on strong results
* Netflix, eBay, Amazon hit record high
* Goldman Sachs, UnitedHealth drag on Dow after results
* Indexes up: Dow 0.23 pct, S&P 0.64 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Tanya Agrawal
July 16 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose sharply on Thursday, with the Nasdaq touching a three-week high and the S&P 500 less than 1 percent from its record high, as bellwether companies such as Citigroup, eBay and Netflix reported strong results.
However, dour reports from Goldman Sachs and UnitedHealth capped gains on the Dow. Goldman fell 1.2 percent after posting its smallest quarterly profit in nearly four years, while UnitedHealth fell 0.5 percent after missing Wall Street’s cost estimates.
Netflix rose 16.9 percent to a record high of $114.72, a day after reporting strong subscribers numbers. Amazon rose 2.5 percent also to an all-time high of $472.79 after reporting record sales on its Prime Day. The two stocks propelled the Nasdaq 100 to a record high.
Investor confidence was also bolstered after the Greek parliament voted in favor of austerity measures to reopen talks for a third bailout.
“Now that Greece has been taken care of for the time being, the focus has shifted to what’s happening on the ground in the U.S.,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
“While U.S. equities are fully valued at the moment, if companies are not able to fulfill heightened expectations of stronger earnings in the second half of the year, we will see some more sideways action.”
The S&P 500 currently trades at 16.8 times forward 12 months earnings, above the 10-year average of 14.7 times, according to StarMine data.
Still, U.S. companies are expected to post their worst sales decline in nearly six years in the second quarter, while profit is expected to have fallen 2.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters estimates. But expectations are low.
Of the 45 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 71 percent have beat expectations, above the 63 percent that beat in a typical quarter. But, 51 percent have beaten revenue estimates, below the 61 percent average.
“Quarterly earnings are just a confirmation process and what this season confirms is that we are in a modest growth and modest inflation environment,” said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in St. Louis, Missouri.
At 13:08 p.m. ET (1708 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 41.55 points, or 0.23 percent, at 18,091.72 and the Nasdaq composite was up 50.75 points, or 1 percent, at 5,149.70.
The S&P 500 was up 13.59 points, or 0.64 percent, at 2,120.99, just 0.6 percent short of its all-time record high hit in May.
Nine of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the consumer staples index’s 1.11 percent gain leading the gainers. The materials index was the lone laggard and was down 0.24 percent.
Citigroup reported its highest quarterly profit in eight years and its shares rose as much as 3.9 percent to a six-and-a-half year high of $58.64.
EBay rose 5.2 percent to a record high of $66.71 after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit and announcing the sale of its enterprise business.
Mattel and Google are scheduled to report after markets close.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,072 to 942. On the Nasdaq, 1,822 issues rose and 914 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 43 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 165 new highs and 47 new lows. (Editing by Savio D‘Souza)