Stocks End Moderately Higher; S&P 500 On 5-Day Win Streak


Stocks recovered from a late-afternoon bout of selling on Wall Street to finish modestly higher Wednesday, giving the benchmark S&P 500 its fifth straight gain.

Technology stocks powered much of the rally, led by chipmakers. Retailers, homebuilders and hotel operators were among the big gainers. Energy companies, consumer goods makers and industrial stocks took the heaviest losses.

The market’s last-minute rebound after an early rally faded echoed the prior day’s results and came in a mostly quiet week for market-moving news. That could change as swiftly as Friday, when the government issues its closely watched monthly tally of hiring by U.S. employers.

Investors were also gearing up for a new round of corporate earnings reports set to begin coming out next week. The overall forecast is for a weak round of results, with earnings by S&P 500 companies expected to contract by 4%, according to FactSet.

The S&P 500 index added 6.16 points, or 0.2%, to 2,873.40. The index is now about 2% shy of its most recent all-time high reached on September 20.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39 points, or 0.1%, to 26,218.13. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 46.86 points, or 0.6%, to 7,895.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 7.59 points, or 0.5%, to 1,560.91.

Major indexes in Europe finished higher.

Despite more volatile trading this week, the major U.S. stock indexes are on track to end the week with gains, adding to the market’s blockbuster returns in the January-March period. The S&P 500 is now up 14.6% this year.

Delta will kick off the earnings results for airlines early next week, with JPMorgan and Wells Fargo leading bank earnings later in the week.

Traders also have had their eye out for developments in the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, which resumed Wednesday.

First up, however, is the government’s monthly U.S. jobs report, due out Friday. Economists project a gain of 170,000, according to FactSet.

Investors shrugged off a report from payroll processor ADP on Wednesday showing private U.S. businesses added 129,000 jobs last month, down from the previous month’s gain of 197,000.

Chipmakers led the gainers in the technology sector. Advanced Micro Devices jumped 8.5% and Micron Technology climbed 3.4%.

Energy companies, consumer goods makers and health care stocks lagged. Noble Energy slid 2%, tobacco company Altria Group dropped 4.8% and Mylan fell 2.3%.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose to 2.52% from 2.48% late Tuesday.

The dollar rose to 111.47 yen from 111.37 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1240 from $1.1198.

Energy futures closed mostly lower. Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 0.2% to settle at $62.46 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, closed 0.1% lower at $69.31 a barrel.

Wholesale gasoline climbed 1.2% to $1.95 a gallon, heating oil gave up 0.1% to $2.01 a gallon and natural gas fell 0.3% to $2.68 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold was little changed at $1,295.30 an ounce, silver rose 0.3% to $15.10 an ounce and copper gained 1.5% to $2.95 a pound.