Stocks swayed between small gains and losses on Wall Street Wednesday as investors reviewed the latest batch of quarterly earnings reports and wait for a policy update from the Federal Reserve.
Wall Street will be looking closely at the central bank’s statement to get a better sense of when it might start easing up on its support for the economy.
The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1% as of 12:29 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 100 points, or 0.13%, to 34,961 and the Nasdaq rose 0.7%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.25% from 1.23% late Tuesday.
Gains in several big communications and technology companies helped offset drops in banks, industrial companies and makers of household and personal products. Google’s parent company Alphabet was a standout, jumping 3.8% after reporting a profit surge last quarter.
Analysts expect the Fed to reduce the bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates low through the pandemic. The big question for investors is the timing and pace of such a pullback. The market is also weighing concerns about the pace of the economic recovery, which could be stymied by the renewed spread of COVID-19.
“The pace is going to be slower than some folks predicted because of the delta variant,” said Greg Bassuk, founder and CEO of AXS Investments. “We believe that we’re going to continue to see a greater opening recovery, but with a lot more volatility.”
There are also lingering concerns about whether inflation will continue to rise, depending on the economic recovery and supply chain problems that have made some goods more expensive.
Pfizer rose 3.3% after its profit and revenue surged on strong sales of its COVID-19 vaccine and other medicines. It also raised its sales and profit forecasts for the year. Boeing jumped 4.9% after the airplane maker reported a surprise quarterly profit, its first since 2019.
Solid earnings weren’t enough to lift stocks for other companies. McDonald’s fell 2.5%, despite reporting a surge in revenue and beating analysts’ forecasts as dining rooms reopened.
Investors will be focusing much of their attention on what companies are forecasting for the rest of the year. Those forecasts, along with a mix of economic reports on gross domestic product and personal income and spending, should give investors a clearer picture of the economic recovery’s trajectory as they head into August, Bassuk said.
Markets made gains in Europe and were mostly lower in Asia.