Los Angeles Times

Tech losses offset broad stock gains


Most U.S. stocks rose Wednesday, but indexes petered out to a mixed finish as momentum weakened after an encouragin­g start to what’s expected to be a thunderous earnings reporting season.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 16.93 points, or 0.4%, to 4,124.66, a day after returning to an all-time high. It flipped between small gains and losses several times through the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.62 points, or 0.2%, to 33,730.89 after earlier in the day rising above its record set last week. The Nasdaq composite lost an early gain, dropping 138.26 points, or 1%, to 13,857.84.

The market was held back by drops for several heavyweigh­t tech stocks, including Apple and Amazon, but the majority of stocks within the S&P 500 rose.

Smaller companies also rallied amid growing optimism as COVID-19 vaccines roll out and businesses reopen. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks climbed 18.79 points, or 0.8%, to 2,247.72.

Shares of Coinbase Global, an exchange for bitcoin and other digital currencies, surged in their market debut, perhaps a defining moment for cryptocurr­encies as they get embraced more by the mainstream.

Its stock opened at $381, after the Nasdaq earlier gave it a $250 reference price. It quickly rallied toward $430 before closing at $328.28. At that price, the company is worth more than $85 billion, more valuable than Nasdaq or Interconti­nental Exchange, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange.

Energy stocks were also among the market’s strongest on expectatio­ns that a resurgent economy will burn more petroleum products. The Internatio­nal Energy Agency raised its forecast for oil demand this year. A separate U.S. government report also showed that the amount of oil in inventorie­s fell sharply last week.

That helped benchmark U.S. crude oil rise $2.97 to $63.15 a barrel. Brent crude, the internatio­nal standard, climbed $2.91, to $66.58 a barrel.

Within the S&P 500, Diamondbac­k Energy was one of the top-performing stocks with a gain of 6%. Occidental Petroleum rose 5.2%.

Much of the market’s focus in coming weeks will be on earnings season. This may be the best quarter of earnings growth for S&P 500 companies in more than a decade.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo all unveiled earnings for the first quarter that blew past forecasts. Goldman Sachs rallied 2.3%, but JPMorgan Chase fell 1.9%. Wells Fargo jumped 5.5%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.63% from 1.62%.

Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell said again Wednesday that the central bank will hold off on raising interest rates until the job market has fully healed, inflation has reached 2% and indication­s show inflation is on track to stay moderately above 2% for some time.

The Fed also released its latest Beige Book survey, which showed that businesses around the country feel more optimistic about the economy.

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