US stocks edged higher on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing more than 100 points in early trading, as healthcare and technology firms soared to lead the broad-based gains.
Consumer plays also advanced despite retail sales data and quarterly results from firms such as Macy’s Inc. and Fossil Group Inc. that was softer than anticipated.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 93.32 points or 0.6% to 16,654.
The S&P 500 added 13 points or 0.7% to 1,946. Amazon.com was the best performer in the index, while retailers were among the biggest losers.
The Nasdaq Composite increased 40 points or 0.9% at 4,428.
Michael Arone of State Street Global Advisors said economic data released in the day was optimistic enough to show that consumers were still buying, but not solid enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to raise rates sooner than expected.
“Benign inflation and a stronger dollar mean that the U.S. economy and company earnings will continue to grow. This is a positive environment for the stock markets,” Arone is quoted by the MarketWatch as saying.
Sales at US retailers were flat in July, the poorest results in six months, as car dealers sales slid, but jumped at gas stations and food and beverages shops, government data published on Wednesday showed. Other data showed business inventories climbed in June more than projected.
Amazon was up after the retailer introduced a new mobile payment service for use on a smartphone or tablet.
Macy’s Inc. stocks dropped after its projections fell short of expectations and sales for the second quarter disappointed.
SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. tumbled after the theme-park firm posted second-quarter earnings that were lower than expected and the firm revised downwards its sales outlook.
The retail numbers might suggest that the Fed is not going to be so aggressive in raising rates any time soon,”Bruce Bittles of RW Baird & Co. in Milwaukee told Bloomberg.
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