(Reuters) – Wall Street ended slightly higher on Wednesday after a spate of upbeat earnings reports, but lingering concerns about trade tensions and the longest U.S. government shutdown ever limited the advance.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
All three major U.S. stock indexes closed in positive territory, with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average seeing the biggest gains on positive quarterly results from International Business Machines (IBM.N), Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) and United Technologies (UTX.N).
Investor sentiment was dampened by reports that business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, were losing confidence in President Donald Trump’s policies that have resulted in the prolonged U.S.-China trade stand-off.
Uncertainty persisted in Washington, where no end to the longest-ever federal government shutdown appeared to be in sight.
The United States could see zero growth in the first quarter if the shutdown extends through March, according to White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Wednesday.
“The headlines coming out of Davos are rehashing some of the pessimism,” said Matthew Keator, partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts.
“We are in a more anxious market here, coming off the lows of the fourth quarter,” Keator added. “People’s wounds are still fresh.”
Still, a spate of positive earnings helped boost the Dow.
IBM provided the biggest boost to the Dow, rising 8.5 percent after cloud and software services helped its profit come in above analyst estimates and the company offered better-than-expected guidance for 2019.
Procter & Gamble advanced 4.9 percent after the company upped its full-year sales forecast and took advantage of price increases and strong demand to beat analyst earnings estimates.
United Technologies reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and