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Wall St climbs as strong earnings offset worries, Fed meeting in focus

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U.S. stock indexes rose steadily on Friday after strong earnings updates from Exxon and Intel offset worries over Amazon’s slowdown warning, while economic data reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve would hike interest rates next week.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) shares rose 1.9% after hitting an all-time high as the oil company reported a record first-quarter profit on rising oil and gas output, aiding a 1.8% advance in the S&P energy index (.SPNY).

Chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O) gained 4.7% after it said gross margins will improve in the second half of the year.

Yet Inc (AMZN.O) fell 3.6% despite better-than-expected quarterly results, after it signaled its cloud computing business growth would slow further. Its performance weighed on the consumer discretionary index (.SPLRCD).

“The earnings numbers have been good from the big companies. Going in expectations were bad but they’ve not come out as bad as feared. That’s probably providing a little relief,” said John Praveen, co-CIO at Paleo Leon Inc in Princeton, NJ.

Also Praveen saw Friday’s economic data helping solidify expectations ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting and ease any fears about potential for a sharp slowdown.

Data showed U.S. consumer spending unchanged in March, while underlying inflation pressures remained strong, feeding expectations the Fed will hike interest rates by 25 basis points next week.

Other data showed first-quarter U.S. economic growth slowed more than expected, while plunging consumer confidence in April heightened fears of a recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 220.87 points, or 0.65%, to 34,047.03, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 28.26 points, or 0.68%, to 4,163.61 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 56.01 points, or 0.46%, to 12,198.24.

The benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX) looked set for a second consecutive monthly gain on better-than-expected earnings this week from megacap companies including Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Meta Platforms Inc (META.O).

Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to fall 1.9% from a year ago compared with a 5.1% fall expected at the start of April, according to Refinitiv data.

The Fed issued a detailed and scathing assessment of its failure to identify problems and push for fixes at Silicon Valley Bank before the U.S. lender’s collapse, and promised tougher supervision and stricter rules for banks.

The KBW Regional Banking index (.KRX) and the S&P 500 bank index (.SPXBK) gained over 1% each.

However regional lender First Republic Bank (FRC.N) shares were down about 40% following a report that it was most likely headed for receivership under the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Snapchat-owner Snap Inc (SNAP.N) dived 18% as it warned next quarter’s results could miss Wall Street targets, while Pinterest Inc (PINS.N) dropped about 17% after the image-sharing platform forecast second-quarter revenue growth below estimates.

Cloudflare Inc (NET.N) tumbled 24.6% on a downbeat revenue forecast from the cloud services provider, while Colgate-Palmolive Co (CL.N) jumped 3% after lifting its annual organic sales forecast betting on consistent price hikes.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.90-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.07-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 53 new highs and 107 new lows.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., April 10, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., April 19, 2023. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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