Stock market today: More gains for tech send S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite toward all-time highs

NEW YORK — The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes are rising toward all-time highs on Wednesday as technology stocks keep climbing.

The S&P 500 was 1% higher in afternoon trading and on track to surpass its record set two weeks ago. The Nasdaq composite was 1.7% higher, as of 2:32 p.m. Eastern time, and on also on track to set an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 102 points, or 0.3%.

Some fatter-than-expected profit reports from tech companies helped drive the market. Hewlett Packard Enterprise jumped 12.2% after saying strong sales related to artificial-intelligence systems helped it deliver better results than expected. It also raised its financial forecasts for the year.

A frenzy on Wall Street around AI has catapulted stocks, almost regardless of what the broader economy and interest rates are doing. Nvidia rose another 4.4% to bring its gain for the year so far to 145%. It has become the poster child of the AI rush because its chips are powering much of the development, and Nvidia again was the strongest force lifting the S&P 500 by far. Nvidia’s total market value is at the edge of $3 trillion. Apple’s market value was just above $3 trillion as of afternoon trading Wednesday.

Other big tech stocks also drove the market higher, including a 5.2% rise for Broadcom and 1.7% gain for Microsoft. Cybersecurity company CrowdStrike climbed 10.8% after delivering better profit and revenue fort he latest quarter than expected.

They helped offset a 5.2% drop for Dollar Tree, which matched analysts’ expectations for profit but fell just shy for revenue. The retailer also said it’s considering selling or spinning off its Family Dollar business.

The broad retail industry has been highlighting challenges for lower-income U.S. households, which are trying to keep up with still-high inflation.

Treasury yields fell in the bond market following some mixed data on the economy. One report said real estate, health care and other businesses in the U.S. services sector returned to growth last month and blew by economists’ forecasts. Perhaps more importantly for Wall Street, the report from the Institute for Supply Management also said prices rose at a slower pace in May than a month before.

Another report in the morning suggested hiring slowed last month by more than expected at U.S. employers outside the government.

Stocks have generally been shaky recently after reports suggested the U.S. economy’s growth is fading under the weight of high interest rates. Wall Street has actually been hoping for such a slowdown because it can drive down inflation and convince the Federal Reserve to deliver much-desired cuts to interest rates. But it also raises the possibility of overshooting and sending the economy into a recession, which would ultimately hurt stock prices.

Treasury yields have sunk sharply after the weaker-than-expected economic reports raised expectations for coming cuts to rates by the Federal Reserve.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.29% from 4.33% late Tuesday. It’s well below the 4.60% that it reached a week ago.

The next big move for Treasury yields and Wall Street overall could come Friday, when the U.S. government releases its monthly jobs report. That report is much more comprehensive than Wednesday’s from ADP, which focuses only on the private sector, and economists expect Friday’s data to show a slight pickup in overall hiring. The hope continues to be that the job market slows its growth but not so much that it devolves into widespread layoffs.

The worst-case scenario for markets would likely be if data on the jobs market and the rest of the economy come in stronger than expected, according to JJ Kinahan, CEO of IG North America. That could push the Federal Reserve to consider hiking its main interest even further, which would put further strain on the economy and investment prices. The federal funds rate has been sitting at its highest level in more than two decades.

But Kinahan says he sees this scenario as less likely than others.

In stock markets abroad, indexes rose across much of Europe. Investors expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates at its meeting on Thursday amid worries about a flaccid economy.

Stocks fell across much of Asia, with indexes falling 0.9% in Tokyo and 0.8%, but they rose 1% in Seoul.


AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.

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