NEW YORK –
Stocks edged higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday, putting major indexes on track to extend their weekly gains.
The S&P 500 rose 0.7% as of 2 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 142 points, or 0.4%, to 35,549 and the Nasdaq rose 0.2%.
Several big communications and technology companies helped lift the broader market. Google parent Alphabet jumped 8.3% after it said its digital ad business propelled a 36% jump in profit last quarter. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices rose 5.2% after it reported surprisingly strong fourth-quarter financial results and gave investors an encouraging sales forecast.
Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.76% from 1.80% late Tuesday.
Energy stocks fell and tempered gains elsewhere in the market. Oil prices were mostly stable following news that oil cartel OPEC and allied producing countries are sticking with cautious increases production.
Retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also fell. Amazon shed 1% and Gap fell 2.2%.
Major indexes are are on track for solid gains this week, a welcome turnaround from January’s losses. Last month’s slide came as Wall Street faced several threats including rising inflation, the prospect of higher interest rates and COVID-19’s continued drag on the economic recovery.
Inflation remains a key concern as rising costs threaten profit margins and put more pressure on consumer spending. The Federal Reserve intends to raise interest rates to try cooling inflation, which is at a four-decade high. Investors expect the first rate hike in March and at least three more in 2022.
Investors are reviewing the latest round of corporate earnings to gauge the damage that rising costs have had on different industries and how companies will deal with inflation moving forward.
Marathon Petroleum jumped 5.5% and scientific instrument and laboratory supplies company Thermo Fisher Scientific rose 1.3% after reporting solid financial results.
PayPal slumped 25.8%, heading for its worst trading day since it split from eBay in 2015 after reporting a weak quarter and subdued guidance.
Several big companies will release earnings later this week. Facebook’s parent Meta will release its results after the market closes on Wednesday, while Amazon.com and Ford will release their results on Thursday.