The S&P 500 hit an intra-day record high on Thursday, fueled by gains in Facebook following its strong earnings report, while investors awaited upcoming results from Amazon.
Facebook jumped over 6 percent to an all-time high after beating market expectations for quarterly revenue and profit late on Wednesday, helped by a surge in digital ad spending during the pandemic and higher ad prices.
Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors rose, with the communication services index jumping 2.6 percent, boosted by Facebook and a 1.6 percent rise in Google parent Alphabet.
Apple climbed 0.5 percent after late on Wednesday posting sales and profit ahead of Wall Street estimates on strong iPhone and Mac sales.
Amazon was up 0.3 percent ahead of its quarterly report after the bell, with investors looking for signs of how the online retailer will be affected as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Investors are really looking for significantly outsized results, and also outsized guidance as they look ahead to upcoming quarters,” said Greg Bassuk, chief executive of AXS Investments. “We believe a lot of optimism has already been baked into the market, and we are cautioning investors to expect significant volatility.”
Of the 265 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 87 percent have topped analysts’ earnings estimates, with Refinitiv IBES data now predicting a 45 percent jump in profit growth.
US economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, fueled by massive government aid to households and businesses, while a labor market report showed 553,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week, compared with 566,000 in the prior period.
Caterpillar dipped 3.4 percent after it reported higher quarterly earnings but warned of supply-chain bottlenecks.
Drugmaker Merck slid 5 percent after posting a drop in quarterly profit.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.53 percent at 33,999.33 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.51 percent to 4,204.66.
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.13 percent to 14,068.83.
Twitter and Gilead Sciences were each down more than 1 percent ahead of their quarterly reports after the market closes.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.12-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 109 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 133 new highs and 21 new lows.