NEW YORK –
Wall Street strengthened Tuesday after more companies reported fatter profits for the spring than expected.
The S&P 500 rose 12.82, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,567.46 and its highest close since early April 2022. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.83, or 0.1 per cent, to 35,438.07, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 85.69, or 0.6 per cent, to 14,144.56.General Electric helped lead the market with a 6.3 per cent rally after it reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It also raised its forecasts for full-year revenue and profits.
Another industrial giant, 3M, rose 5.3 per cent after the maker of Scotch-Brite and Post-It raised its forecast for profits for the full year thanks in part to cost cutting efforts. Home builder PulteGroup climbed 6.2 per cent after reporting stronger profit for the spring than expected.
On the losing side of Wall Street were airline stocks, led by Alaska Air Group. It fell 9.7 per cent despite reporting stronger profit and revenue for the latest quarter than expected. Analysts said investors may have been disappointed with its financial forecasts for the current quarter.
Raytheon Technologies tumbled 10.2 per cent after saying accelerated removals and inspections are needed for some of its Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines to look for a rare condition in powder metal. That pushed the company to lower its forecast for how much cash it will generate this year, though it also reported stronger profit for the spring than analysts expected.
This week is a busy one for earnings reports, and roughly 30 per cent of the companies in the S&P 500 are on the schedule. The majority have been topping analysts’ expectations so far this reporting season, as is usually the case.
Two of Wall Street’s most influential stocks reported their results after trading closed for the day, Microsoft and Alphabet. They’re two of the seven stocks behind the majority of the S&P 500’s nearly 16 per cent gain through the first half of the year.
That “Magnificent 7” will need to deliver strong results to justify their huge gains for the year so far, as their stocks soared on on expectations they’ll continue to deliver strong growth. Both Alphabet and Microsoft are up more than 38 per cent for the year so far.
UPS, meanwhile, swung between gains and losses after reaching a tentative deal with 340,000 unionized workers to raise pay, which potentially averts a strike. UPS ended the day down 1.9 per cent
This week’s other highlight for Wall Street also got underway Tuesday: the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting on interest rates.
The wide expectation is for the Fed on Wednesday to announce another increase to interest rates, as it tries to wrestle high inflation under control. That would take the federal funds rate to a range of 5.25 per cent to 5.50 per cent, its highest level in two decades and up from virtually zero early last year.
High rates grind down on inflation by slowing the entire economy and hurting prices for stocks and other investments. The hope among traders is Wednesday’s move will be the final increase of this cycle because inflation has been cooling since last summer.
Such hopes, along with rising belief that the economy can avoid a long-predicted recession, have helped stocks rally strongly this year. The job market has remained remarkably solid, which has allowed U.S. households to keep spending and propping up the economy. A report on Tuesday showed confidence among U.S. consumers rose by more than economists expected.
But many on Wall Street warn the Fed is unlikely to give any signals on Wednesday that it’s done raising rates. Inflation is still high, even if it’s moderated somewhat, and the economy may have to “yield to a long but shallow recession if the Fed is to return inflation to its two per cent target,” according to Steven Ricchiuto, US chief economist at Mizuho Securities.
In the bond market, yields were relatively steady for Treasurys.
The 10-year Treasury yield was holding at 3.88 per cent. It helps set rates for mortgages and other important loans.
The two-year Treasury yield, which moves more on the market’s expectations for Fed action, slipped to 4.88 per cent from 4.92 per cent.
In markets abroad, stock indexes were mixed.
Stocks jumped 4.1 per cent in Hong Kong and 2.1 per cent in Shanghai. Chinese leaders have promised measures to boost sluggish economic growth by supporting real estate sales and other struggling sectors but gave no details and didn’t mention possible stimulus spending.
Indexes moved more modestly around the rest of the world.
AP Business Writer Joe McDonald contributed.