U.S. stock indexes were mostly higher in afternoon trading Wednesday following a mixed batch of quarterly earnings results from General Motors, Boeing, Coca-Cola and other big companies. Gains in technology and health-care stocks outweighed losses in banks and other sectors. Homebuilders slumped on government data showing sales of new U.S. homes fell in June.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,826 as of 1:29 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 55 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,186. The Nasdaq composite added 41 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,882. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks, which was coming off its worst day in a month, picked up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,681.
EARNINGS SPREE: This is the busiest week for the second-quarter earnings season, with roughly a third of the companies in the S&P 500 scheduled to report results. Of the roughly 23.6 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 that had issued quarterly results as of early Wednesday, some 71 percent reported earnings and revenue that beat analysts’ forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. That’s reinforced the underlying perception in the financial markets that the U.S. economy is performing strongly and that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again next month.
Even so, traders remain wary of global trade tensions, which have ratcheted up in recent weeks as the U.S. and some of its trading partners have imposed tariffs on certain products and threatened more.
THE QUOTE: “Tariffs haven’t had an enormous impact on earnings, particularly in the manufacturing sector,” said Jeramey Lynch, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “We haven’t seen that so far. Earnings have still been strong because the potential impacts so far of tariffs are being more than offset by what we see as a very favorable macroeconomic backdrop.”
TECH RALLY: Technology sector stocks accounted for most of the market’s gains. Corning gained 9 percent to $32.53.
CHECKUP ACED: HCA Healthcare jumped 9.4 percent to $118.33 after the hospital operator turned in quarterly results that were better than analysts were expecting.
QUENCHED: Shares in Coca-Cola rose 1.6 percent to $45.97 after the beverage company served up quarterly earnings and revenue that topped analysts’ forecasts. The company noted that its diet sodas are selling better after undergoing some image changes.
PUMPING THE BRAKES: General Motors slumped 6.8 percent to $36.79 after the automaker cut its outlook for the year, mostly due to tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. The diminished expectations overshadowed GM’s strong second-quarter results. The news also weighed on other U.S. automakers. Ford, which was due to report quarterly results Wednesday afternoon, slid 3.5 percent to $10.21.
NOT VERY FRESH: Tupperware plunged 14.3 percent to $34.93 after the container maker reported weaker-than-expected sales and lowered its annual forecasts.
TURBULENCE AHEAD: Boeing reported quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, but also cut its revenue projections for its defense business. Shares in the aerospace giant fell 2.2 percent to $350.28.
HOUSING TUMBLE: Homebuilder shares declined after the Commerce Department said sales of new U.S. homes fell 5.3 percent last month, even as buyers continued to outnumber sellers in a still-tight housing market. Beazer Homes USA tumbled 8.9 percent to $13.10.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 96 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $69.48 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 56 cents to $74 per barrel in London.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.93 percent from 2.95 percent late Tuesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.90 yen from 111.22 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1685 from $1.1683.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX lost 0.9 percent and France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent. London’s FTSE 100 slid 0.7 percent. Major indexes in Asia finished unevenly. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.9 percent. Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.3 percent. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 declined 0.3 percent.