Stocks moved higher in afternoon trading on Thursday, helped by strong company earnings as well as optimism that Washington can reach a deal for another round of fiscal stimulus for the millions of Americans who need it.
The S&P 500 index was up 0.7% as of 12:13 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 253 points, or 0.8%, to 30,978 and the technology heavy Nasdaq was up 0.7%.
All three indexes are on pace for strong weekly gains above 3%. Stocks have been mostly rallying this week, an encouraging start to February after a late fade in January. Volatility spiked last month amid worries about the timing and scope of another round of stimulus spending by the Biden administration, unease over the effectiveness of the government’s coronavirus vaccine distribution.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 1.8% in a sign that investors were growing more confident about the economy’s growth prospects. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.14% from 1.11% late Wednesday.
Wall Street continues to be focused on individual company earnings. Shares of eBay and PayPal were up more than 5%, after both company reported results that blew away Wall Street’s expectations.
This will continue to be a busy week for earnings for investors. Ford Motor Co. will report after the closing bell, along with Gilead Sciences, News Corp. and Wynn Resorts.