U.S. Stocks Move Higher as Investors Reward Solid Earnings

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, July 24, 2019. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

U.S. stocks moved higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Wednesday as investors rewarded solid earnings results from several large companies.

The broad S&P 500 got off to a weak start but gained steam throughout the afternoon. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite and Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks have been gaining ground all day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell.

Technology stocks were the brightest spot in the market. A solid earnings report from Texas Instruments pushed the chipmaker’s stock higher and made the sector the biggest gainer.

Industrial stocks moved broadly higher after UPS beat Wall Street’s financial forecasts. The solid results from the delivery service counteracted steep drops from Boeing and Caterpillar, which both reported weak financial results.

Anthem sank 4.3% after the insurer reported higher costs. UnitedHealth Group lost 1.1%. The health care sector fell broadly.

Corporate results have been mixed this week, though investors are jumping on some of the best performers during this latest round. This is a heavy week for financial results, with nearly 150 major companies reporting results through Friday. Stocks have been volatile over the last few weeks as investors assess the results to gain a better picture of the overall economy.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as of 2:10 p.m. Eastern time.

Boeing, Caterpillar and UnitedHealth weighed down The Dow Jones Industrial Average. It fell 121 points, or 0.5%, to 27,226.

The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4% as technology stocks led the market higher. The Russell 2000, which focuses on smaller stocks, was the day’s best index so far, gaining 1%.

CLOGGED VACUUM: Roomba maker iRobot plummeted 17.4% after slashing its profit and revenue forecasts because of the U.S. trade war with China.

BAD SEAL: Tupperware Brands plunged 18% after the maker of plastic storage containers chopped its profit forecast for the year following a weak second quarter. The company cited lower consumer spending in all of its regions.

GOOD CHIPS: Texas Instruments rose 7.5% after surprising investors with a solid profit and sales forecast, helping to ease concerns on Wall Street about weak demand because of the U.S.–China trade war. Chipmakers have been under pressure because of fears that sales in China would feel the brunt of tariffs and technology restrictions.

DELIVERING RESULTS: UPS rose 8.5% as demand for next-day delivery service pushed its second quarter financial results past Wall Street’s forecasts. The company has been expanding its delivery service options to meet growing demand from online shopping.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 1.1%, though energy stocks ticked higher. Chevron, Marathon Petroleum and Schlumberger lead the sector’s gains.

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