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U.S. stocks close higher as strong earnings lift retailers

Flags flying in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
Financial and tech companies gained ground, and Best Buy surged after reporting better than expected earnings for the year.
(Julia Nikhinson / Associated Press)
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Stocks on Wall Street closed broadly higher Tuesday, as solid company earnings helped lift several retailers ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.4%, more than making up for its losses last week. The Dow Jones industrial average added 1.2% and the Nasdaq composite gained 1.4%.

All the company sectors in the benchmark S&P 500 index rose, with technology stocks driving much of the rally. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 4.7%.

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Financial and healthcare stocks also helped lift the market. Charles Schwab rose 1.6% and Pfizer added 1.9%.

Energy stocks notched the biggest gain as the price of U.S. crude oil rose 1.5%. Chevron rose 2.6%.

“Yesterday’s slow sell-off of energy was overdone,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive of Infrastructure Capital Advisors. “So you’re getting a bounce back in energy, and that’s really leading the market.”

Long-term Treasury yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, slipped to 3.77% from 3.84% late Monday.

“When rates go down, it’s great for all stocks,” Hatfield said.

The S&P 500 rose 53.64 points to 4,003.58. The Dow gained 397.82 points to close at 34,098.10. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 149.90 points to 11,174.41.

Smaller company stocks also got a boost. The Russell 2000 rose 21.30 points, or 1.2%, to 1,860.44.

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Investors have very little news to review this week, but several retailers and technology companies are closing out the latest round of corporate earnings with their financial results. Electronics retailer Best Buy surged 12.8% after it did better than analysts expected and said a decline in sales for the year will not be as bad as it had projected.

Computer maker Dell Technologies rose 6.8% after it reported strong third-quarter profit and revenue. Zoom Video slumped 3.9% after giving investors a weak profit and revenue forecast.

Several retailers made particularly strong gains after reporting solid financial results. Abercrombie & Fitch surged 21.4% and American Eagle jumped 18.2%.

Nearly every company in the S&P 500 has reported its latest financial results, according to FactSet, and the results have been mixed. Companies in the index have reported overall earnings growth of about 2% but have also issued warnings about weaker consumer demand and crimped sales as inflation continues squeezing consumers.

Inflation and the Federal Reserve’s fight to tame it remain the main concerns for Wall Street. The central bank on Wednesday will release minutes from its latest policy meeting, potentially giving investors more insight into its decision-making process.

Wall Street has been hoping that the central bank might ease up on its aggressive rate increases. Its benchmark rate currently stands at 3.75% to 4%, up from close to zero in March.

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The Fed has warned that it may have to raise rates to previously unanticipated levels to cool the hottest inflation in decades. That strategy raises the risk that it could go too far in slowing economic growth and bring on a recession.

Worries about a recession continue hanging over the global economy and markets.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is forecasting modest economic growth globally this year and more tepid growth in 2023. Russia’s war in Ukraine continues threatening energy supplies and key food commodities, including wheat. A resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China continues threatening the world’s second-largest economy and global supply chains.

“In 2023, we expect less pain but also no gain,” Goldman Sachs said in a report looking ahead to the new year.

The investment bank expects inflation and high interest rates to essentially flatten out corporate earnings and hold the broader stock market at its current levels, with the S&P 500 ending 2023 where it currently sits at around 4,000 points.

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