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S&P 500 reaches all-time high as focus turns to earnings and interest rate outlook

Wall Street Sets New Record High Amid Earnings and Rate Outlook

Market Overview

Wall Street saw gains on Wednesday, with the benchmark reaching a new record high. Investors were focusing on major corporate earnings and monitoring policymakers’ remarks for more clues on the interest-rate cut outlook.

Corporate Earnings Impact

Ford Motor surged 4.5% to a six-month high, propelling consumer discretionary to lead the 11 S&P 500 sectors. The automaker announced an increase in first-quarter dividend and plans to scale back investments in new capacity for loss-making electric vehicles. General Motors also saw a 1.7% increase.

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Technology Sector Performance

Snap slumped 32% to a two-month low after missing quarterly revenue estimates. Meanwhile, Uber Technologies forecasted quarterly core profit and gross bookings above estimates, but its shares were down 1.4%. Fortinet jumped 3.3% on a fourth-quarter profit beat, while U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding lost 3.9% following downbeat quarterly revenue.

Analyst Insights

According to Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth, earnings have come in slightly better than expected, with 81.2% of S&P 500 companies surpassing expectations. This has led to a rise of 8.1% in fourth-quarter earnings from the year-ago quarter.

Market Outlook

The benchmark S&P 500 reached another all-time high, driven by resilient earnings and optimism around potential rate cuts this year. While Chair Jerome Powell has ruled out a March rate reduction, traders are awaiting fresh clues from central bankers on the timing of the policy easing.

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Stock Market Statistics

At 9:51 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 98.72 points, the S&P 500 was up 21.59 points, and the Nasdaq was up 70.17 points. Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE and the Nasdaq.

Stock Performance

New York Community Bancorp lost 9.6%, while Roblox jumped 11.7% after forecasting strong annual bookings. Gilead Sciences lost 3.4% as fourth-quarter revenue dipped 4%, and VF Corp shed 10.6% after missing expectations for third-quarter results. Enphase Energy surged 15% as the solar inverter maker expects inventory levels to normalize.

Market Records

The S&P index recorded 41 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and 49 new lows.

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