The Nasdaq led gains among Wall Street indexes on Wednesday after a robust forecast from Microsoft supported optimism about the third-quarter earnings season, while a decline in oil prices hurt shares of energy companies.
The S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average struggled for direction in the first hour of trading, with seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectoral indexes falling.
Microsoft Corp. jumped 3.6 percent after it forecast a strong end to the calendar year, helped by its booming cloud business. Google-owner Alphabet Inc. gained 3.3 percent after reporting a record quarterly profit on a surge in ad sales.
Their shares, coupled with other mega-cap growth names Amazon.com, and Tesla Inc., provided the biggest boost to the Nasdaq index.
“Today feels exactly like the calm before the storm ahead of a pile of earnings that is due tomorrow and everyone wants to know how the supply-chain issues are going to work out,” said Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC.
Worries over rising prices, potentially higher corporate taxes, and the Federal Reserve’s tapering plans had rattled markets last month, but upbeat earnings reports have reinforced sentiment in October, helping drive the S&P 500 and the Dow to all-time highs this week.
As of Tuesday, profits for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 35.6 percent year-on-year in the third quarter. Out of the 144 Of companies that have reported earnings, 81.9 percent reported above analyst expectations, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Energy and materials led S&P 500 sectoral declines, tracking lower commodity prices.
Major lenders such as Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan slipped on a flattening U.S. yield curve.
At 10:25 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 33.66 points, or 0.09 percent, at 35,723.22, the S&P 500 was up 1.19 points, or 0.03 percent, at 4,575.98, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 59.99 points, or 0.39 percent, at 15,295.70.
Shares of McDonald’s Corp. rose 1.9 percent after the fast-food company reported upbeat quarterly same store sales, while Coca-Cola Co. added 2.1 percent after the beverage maker raised its full-year profit forecast.
Visa Inc. slipped 4.4 percent as its ‘conservative’ 2022 forecast clouded better-than expected fourth quarter earnings.
Top Senate Democrat Ron Wyden proposed a so-called billionaires tax that would require U.S. billionaires to pay tax on unrealized gains from their assets.
“Taxing unrealized gains is a spooky thing. We have a government that is not scared to tax and that effectively affects investor sentiment,” said Dick.
Texas Instruments Inc. fell 6.0 percent after it forecast tepid quarterly revenue as the chipmaker struggles with supply chain constraints in the semiconductor industry.
Robinhood Markets Inc. tumbled 9.7 percent after the retail broker reported downbeat third-quarter revenue as trading levels declined for cryptocurrencies including dogecoin.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.52-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.72-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 42 new highs and 59 new lows.
By Devik Jain and Shashank Nayar