Wall Street Advances as Companies Surpass Profit Forecasts

US labor market

climbed on Wednesday as its companies posted robust profits.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% in early trading, approaching an all-time high set two weeks ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 62 points, or 0.2%, at 9:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.6%, also nearing a record.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise surged 12.8% after strong sales of artificial intelligence systems led to better-than-expected profit and revenue last quarter. It also raised its financial forecasts for the year. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike increased 9.5% after also topping analysts’ expectations.

These gains helped offset a 0.6% decline for Dollar Tree, which met profit expectations but slightly missed revenue forecasts. The retailer is considering a sale or spinoff of its Family Dollar business. The retail sector has been struggling, especially among lower-income U.S. households grappling with sustained inflation.

The stock market has been volatile recently as reports indicate a slowing U.S. economy amid high interest rates aimed at controlling inflation. Wall Street is hoping that the slowdown will cool inflation and prompt the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates. But there’s a risk of triggering a recession, which could hurt stock prices.

A report Wednesday morning showed that hiring slowed down more than expected last month among U.S. private employers. More data later in the morning will provide insights into construction, finance, and other sectors within the U.S. services industry.

The U.S. government’s official jobs report due Friday is expected to move markets. This broader report will offer a fuller picture than Wednesday’s data from ADP, which focuses on the private sector. Economists expect it will show a modest increase in overall hiring. The goal is to slow job growth without causing widespread layoffs.

Treasury yields have fallen sharply recently as weaker economic reports have raised expectations that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in the future.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged down to 4.31% from 4.33% late Tuesday and 4.60% a week ago.

Overseas, European stock indexes rose as investors bet that the European Central Bank will cut interest rates at its meeting Thursday because of concerns about a sluggish economy.

In Asia, stock markets were mixed: Tokyo’s index fell 0.9% and most others fell 0.8%, while Seoul’s index rose 1%.