Solid earnings send stock indexes higher on Wall Street

By DAMIAN J. TROISE AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks marched higher in midday trading Wednesday and extended a rally as investors focus on the latest batch of mostly solid corporate earnings.

Every major index remains above recent records as worries subside about the economic impact of the virus outbreak that originated in China. Health officials raised hopes that the spread of the virus is peaking after new cases dropped for a second straight day.

Technology stocks led the broad gains. Apple rose 1.4% and Qualcomm Climbed 1.9%.

Companies that rely on consumer spending, including Amazon and Nike, also did well.

Insurers including UnitedHealth and Anthem led the health care sector higher.

Crude oil jumped 2.4% and lifted energy companies, including Hess and ConocoPhillips.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.63% from 1.59% late Tuesday.

Utilities and real estate companies lagged the market in another sign that investors were more confident and shifting money into investments that carry more risk.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.6% as of 11:49 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 178 points, or 0.6%, to 29,454. The Nasdaq rose 0.6%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.4%. Markets in Europe and Asia rose.

EARNINGS UPDATE: The latest batch of corporate earnings has been surprisingly good. Akamai Technologies rose 4.7% after the cloud services provider beat analysts’ profit and revenue forecasts. Generic drug developer Teva jumped 8.7% and e-commerce company Shopify soared 12.4% after reporting solid financial results.

TRAVEL TIDE RISES: Companies focusing on travel made some of the strongest gains. Royal Caribbean rose 3.2% and Booking Holdings rose 2.8%. Cruise lines, hotels and others have been more sensitive than other companies to the spread of the virus in China.

SLOW RIDE: Ride-hailing service Lyft plunged 8.9% after it decided to stick with its prediction that it won’t turn a profit until the end of next year. Lyft’s prediction of a profit in the fourth quarter of 2021 is a year behind rival Uber, which earlier this month said it would make money in the fourth quarter of this year.

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