Stocks Edge Higher as Xilinx Leads Tech Company Rally

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Stocks are mostly higher at midday Thursday as investors react to the latest fourth-quarter earnings reports from corporate America. Technology companies are climbing and American Airlines is rallying after it beat analysts’ expectations. Spice maker McCormick is sinking.

The European Central Bank confirmed that it plans to leave interest rates unchanged until this summer, and left its support from the European economy unchanged despite a variety of concerns including trade tensions, slowing economic growth, and the effects of Britain’s pending departure from the European Union.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,652 as of 11:40 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed at 24,582. The Nasdaq composite rose 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,060. The Russell 2000 rose 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,461.

TURBULENCE WARNING: American Airlines rallied 4.9 percent to $33.21 after reporting solid results in its latest quarter, and Southwest climbed 4 percent to $53.06. JetBlue jumped 4.9 percent to $18.08. Some carriers warned, however, that the partial shutdown of the federal government will cost them money in January. Southwest said the shutdown could cost up to $15 million, echoing Delta’s warning earlier this month that it would cost that company $25 million in revenue.

SOUR TASTE: McCormick slumped 12.8 percent to $121.20 after its quarterly profit and revenue both fell short of Wall Street expectations.

TECH: Chipmaker Xilinx surged 19.7 percent to $107.17 after its third-quarter results topped expectations. The company said it’s benefiting from the expansion of 5G wireless networks in South Korea and preparations for deployment in China and North America, while several automakers are talking about using Xilinx products in autonomous cars.

Elsewhere, Microchip Technology rose 8.4 percent to $37.13 and Nvidia jumped 5.2 percent to $157.03.

Cloud computing company Citrix Systems dropped 7 percent to $101.10 after its forecasts for the current quarter disappointed investors.

I THINK I CAN: Railroad operator Union Pacific rose 3.3 percent to $159.39 after the company said it delivered more freight in the fourth quarter and increased prices. Its profit and revenue both topped Wall Street expectations.

ECB WATCH: The European Central Bank did not change its interest rates or its projection for when it might start raising them. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says risks to the European economy are increasing and the bank is ready to “adjust all of its instruments” if it runs into serious trouble.

BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.72 percent from 2.75 percent.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 0.6 percent to $52.91 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 0.3 percent to $60.97 per barrel in London.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX climbed 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 rose 0.7 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain slid 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng picked up 0.4 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 index declined 0.1 percent.