Stocks Rise Again as Technology Companies and Amazon Jump

NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stocks climbed Wednesday, driven by gains for big technology companies and Amazon. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at record highs for the fourth day in a row.

Stocks have rallied over the last four days as investors grew more hopeful about trade talks between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that Canada could join a trade pact between the U.S. and Mexico by Friday.

The Commerce Department said the U.S. economy was a bit stronger than it previously thought. It said gross domestic product grew 4.2 percent in the second quarter. Stronger business investment was a big reason, as companies spent more money on items like software.

Technology companies including Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet made strong gains.

The S&P 500 advanced 16.52 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,914.04. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60.55 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,124.57. The Nasdaq composite jumped 79.65 points, or 1 percent, to 8,109.69.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 6.33 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,734.75. It also closed at a record high. The S&P 500 has risen 3.5 percent in August after a 3.6 percent gain in July. That two-month gain is its best since late 2015.

Amazon jumped 3.4 percent to $1,998.10 after a Morgan Stanley analyst raised his price target on its stock to $2,500 from $1,850. At that price, Amazon would have a market value of $1.2 trillion.

Apple became the first publicly traded company to reach the $1 trillion mark early this month. Investors currently value the iPhone maker at almost $1.08 trillion to Amazon’s $975 billion.

Other retailers struggled. Dick’s Sporting Goods dipped 2.2 percent to $35.60 after its sales fell short of expectations.

Chico’s FAS fell 4.1 percent to $8.47 after its quarterly report and watchmaker Movado sank 15.4 percent to $41.80. Elsewhere, Tiffany sank 4.3 percent to $125.48 and Kohl’s lost 1.9 percent to $77.34.

Footwear seller Shoe Carnival surged 13.1 percent to $41.74 after it raised its annual forecasts following a second quarter.

Energy companies rose along with oil prices. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 1.4 percent to $69.51 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 1.6 percent to $77.14 a barrel in London.

Homebuilders fell after the National Association of Realtors said fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in July compared with the previous month. High home prices and rising mortgage rates are pushing home sales down even though economic growth is solid.

TopBuild declined 2.7 percent to $65.10 and TRI Pointe lost 2.4 percent to 14.42.

The companies also dipped Tuesday after the S&P-Case Shiller index showed that home prices rose 6.3 percent in July, a slower pace than the month before.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1.3 percent to $2.11 a gallon. Heating oil added 1.4 percent to $2.24 a gallon. Natural gas gained 1.5 percent to $2.90 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,211.50 an ounce. Silver lost 0.5 percent to $14.70 an ounce. Copper sank 1 percent to $2.71 a pound.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.88 percent.

The dollar rose to 111.69 yen from 111.21 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1699 from $1.1696.