Alphabet shares power S&P 500, Nasdaq; Amazon dips

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq climbed on Wednesday, lifted by heavyweight Alphabet Inc’s shares after its strong results, while investors counted on more fiscal stimulus to ride out the economic downturn.

FILE PHOTO: Traders wearing masks work,on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Alphabet Inc jumped 7% as it benefited from lockdowns that drove retail and other advertisers online.

The Google owner’s shares pushed the communication services index 2.2% higher to an all-time high. Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were in the positive territory.

Amazon.com Inc dipped 0.1% as Jeff Bezos’ surprise move to step down as chief executive quashed optimism about bumper quarterly results. However, analysts were upbeat on the promotion of its cloud computing head to the top job.

About 83% of reports from S&P 500 companies so far have surpassed analysts’ earnings expectations, with 97% of results from technology companies beating, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Wall Street’s main indexes finished sharply higher for a second straight day on Tuesday in a broad-based rally as market participants digested talks over the next round of stimulus.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday will meet congressional Democrats preparing to advance his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan despite Republican pushback.

“Economic recovery is on the way and the market is still very focused on technology … the focus will shift at some point in next couple of months to more value, recovery names and that’s where the opportunity is,” said Olivier Sarfati, head of equities at GenTrust in New York.

At 10:03 a.m. ET, the S&P 500 gained 13.23 points, or 0.35 %, to 3,839.54 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 98.05 points, or 0.72 %, to 13,710.83.

The price-weighted Dow Jones fell 0.08%, weighed down by a 2.4% fall in shares of Amgen Inc after the U.S. biotech forecast 2021 earnings below estimates and said it had paused or halted enrollment for clinical trials of three cancer drugs.

Videogame retailer GameStop Corp rose about 3%, clawing back some gains after nearly halving in value on Tuesday on the back of a social media-driven trading rollercoaster ride.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling a meeting of top officials, including from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve, this week to discuss market volatility.

On the economic front, the ADP Report showed hiring by U.S. private employers rebounded by 174,000 in January after a drop in December. A more comprehensive jobs report is expected on Friday.

A separate ISM survey showed U.S. services industry activity raced to its highest level in nearly two years in January.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.7-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 158 new highs and two new lows.

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