Wall Street has ended higher, lifted by gains in Nvidia and other tech stocks, while Gap and Nordstrom shares tumbled following weak quarterly reports.
Nordstrom plunged 29 per cent and Gap slid 24 per cent, after the two retailers reported weak quarterly results and warned of supply-chain problems ahead of the crucial US holiday shopping season.
Nvidia rallied 2.9 per cent as it bounced back from a sell-off in big tech stocks early this week. The graphics chipmaker is now up about 150 per cent in 2021.
The S&P 500 spent much of the session near flat before climbing just before the close.
The S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector index rose 0.2 per cent after data showed US consumer spending increased more than expected in October.
The so-called core PCE price index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, also accelerated in October.
Various Federal Reserve policymakers said they would be open to speeding up elimination of their bond-buying program and move more quickly to raise interest rates if high inflation held, minutes of the US central bank’s last policy meeting showed.
Other data showed weekly jobless claims fell and third-quarter GDP was revised higher, while a University of Michigan survey showed consumer sentiment improved in November.
Coronavirus infections broke records in parts of Europe on Wednesday, with investors worried the continent was again the epicentre of a pandemic that has prompted new curbs on movement.
So far this week, the Nasdaq is down about 1.3 per cent, with investors worried higher interest rates could hurt the valuations of tech and other growth stocks.
“Equities are under pressure from a combination of rising interest rates, more cautionary news on the earnings front, and also from COVID developments in Europe,” said Greg Bassuk, chief executive at AXS Investments in Port Chester, New York.
The US stock market will be closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it will have a shortened session on Friday.
Real estate led among 11 S&P 500 sector indexes with a gain of 1.3 per cent for most of the session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.03 per cent to end at 35,804.38 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.23 per cent to 4,701.46.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.44 per cent to 15,845.23.
Volume on US exchanges was 8.9 billion shares, light compared to the 11 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
Tesla rose as much as 0.6 per cent. In his latest of several recent share sales, CEO Elon Musk sold 934,091 shares of the electric vehicle maker worth $US1.05 billion after exercising options to buy 2.15 million shares.
PC makers HP and Dell jumped 10 per cent and 4.8 per cent, respectively, after they logged a more than four-fold rise in quarterly profits amid increasing demand for personal computers.