Stocks rise broadly on Wall Street with more help from tech
Technology companies led a broad rally for stocks on Wall Street on Wednesday, pushing the market further into the green for the week.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.5%, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.9% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 2.1%. The indexes started off the day headed higher and never slipped into the red, a change from the market’s recent bout of volatile trading.
More than 85% of stocks in the S&P 500 gained ground, with technology and communications stocks powering much of the gains. Microsoft rose 2.2%, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, gained 1.6%.
Bond yields were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 1.95%. It’s still the highest it’s been since before the pandemic began.
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Investors continued to focus on a mixed batch of company earnings reports as they try to gauge how corporate America is dealing with higher inflation and persistent global supply-chain disruptions.
Of the roughly 60% of S&P 500 companies that have reported results for the last three months of 2021, about 62% delivered earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street’s forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
“Earnings and sales really have come in overall quite nicely relative to expectations at the beginning of this quarter, so that’s a positive force within the market,” said Lisa Erickson, senior market strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
The S&P 500 rose 65.64 points to 4,587.18. The benchmark index is now about 4.4% below the all-time high it set Jan. 3.
The Dow gained 305.28 points to 35,768.06, and the Nasdaq rose 295.92 points to 14,490.37. The major stock indexes are all on pace for a weekly gain.
Small company stocks also notched gains. The Russell 2000 rose 38.13 points, or 1.9%, to 2,083.50.
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Investors are looking closely at company earnings reports to determine how different industries are dealing with persistent supply-chain problems. That is one of the factors pushing inflation higher and making operations more costly for companies while making products more expensive for consumers.
Chipotle Mexican Grill jumped 10.2% after beating analyst’s fourth-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts. The company raised menu prices 4% in December as it faced higher costs for beef and labor.
“Overall, companies have found that increasing prices have been more acceptable to their customers than in the past,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
Wall Street will get another update Thursday on rising prices when the Labor Department releases its report on inflation for January. Economists are forecasting the report to show inflation rose to a four-decade high of 7.3%.
An unexpectedly smaller rise in prices could be seen as a signal that inflation might be easing and could support markets, though a bigger increase could weigh on stocks.
“People are trying to get in position to where they want to be before this number is released tomorrow,” Wren said.
Persistently rising inflation could increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to speed up plans to raise interest rates in order to fight inflation.
Investors expect the Fed to raise rates at least four times this year, starting next month. They remain concerned that the Fed may need to raise rates more often than that if inflation pressure remains high. As a result, markets have become more volatile as investors shift money around to prepare for an investing environment with higher interest rates after an extended period of ultra-low interest rates throughout the pandemic.
Wall Street mostly cheered the latest round of corporate report cards Wednesday. Taco Bell owner Yum Brands rose 2.2% after reporting strong fourth-quarter revenue. Freight transportation company XPO Logistics rose 8.3% after also reporting solid financial results.
Walt Disney and Uber Technologies rose in after-hours trading after each reported results that topped Wall Street’s estimates.
Drugstore chain CVS fell 5.4% for the biggest decline in the S&P 500 after giving investors a discouraging earnings forecast.
Twitter and Coca-Cola will report their results Thursday.
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