FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2019, file photo specialists James Denaro, left, and Mario Picone work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, Oct. 25. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

S&P 500 touches record high on solid profits, tech gains

October 25, 2019 - 12:15 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks touched a record high in midday trading Friday, driven by solid corporate profits and gains by technology companies.

Intel rose 7.4% after raising its profit forecast for the year following a solid third quarter. Fellow chipmakers, including Nvidia, also made strong gains.

Charter Communications rose 7.6% after reporting solid financial results. The cable operator made some of the strongest gains among its fellow communications companies.

Banks rose as bond yields moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.8% from 1.76% late Thursday.

Consumer product makers, utilities and real estate companies lagged the market.

The rally is helping to solidify the broader market's weekly gains. It would be the third straight weekly gain and the biggest since mid-September.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% as of noon Eastern time. It is holding slightly below its record close of 3,025.86 set on July 26, after briefly pushing beyond.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 195 points, or 0.7%, to 27,000, The Nasdaq rose 0.8%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks did better than the broader market with a 0.8% gain.

NOT SO PRIME: Amazon fell 1.1% after releasing disappointing third-quarter profits and a weak sales forecast for the holiday shopping season. The company had higher costs as it adds workers in its warehouses and more software engineers for its cloud computing business.

REVVING ENGINES: General Motors rose 1.8% following a key vote at its biggest factory to end a strike that has shut down operations for 40 days. The overwhelmingly positive vote from production workers at GM's SUV plant in Arlington, Texas all but assures the contract will be ratified companywide.

EARNINGS SCORE: Companies have so far reported surprisingly good profits this earnings season, despite another forecast for a sharp contraction. Just over 39% of companies in the S&P 500 have reported results and 78% beat analysts' forecasts, according to FactSet.

The results have tempered initial forecasts for a profit contraction of more than 4%, but the market hasn't gained much ground.

Investors have been here before. Corporate profits were expected to shrink significantly during the first and second quarters, but surprisingly good results eventually led to a very slight overall contraction.

EARNINGS ON DECK: Some of the biggest names in technology and industry will release their results next week. Alphabet, Google's parent company, will help kick things off on Monday. Drugmakers Merck and Pfizer will report results on Tuesday, as will carmaker General Motors.

Apple will release its results on Wednesday, along with Facebook. Exxon will report results on Friday.

ECONOMY UPDATE: Investors are also preparing for a deluge of economic data next week, including the Federal Reserve's latest statement on interest rates, which is set for Wednesday. The latest employment figures and consumer confidence data will also be closely watched as gauges of the economy's health.

The deluge of data, along with a steady flow of important corporate earnings reports, could inject more volatility into the markets.

Reports on home prices and sales, along with the latest data on consumer confidence, are expected Tuesday.

The Commerce Department will report third-quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday and personal income and spending data on Thursday.

The Labor Department's employment report for October will be released on Friday.

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