S&P 500 inches higher to extend winning streak

Even so, traders are expecting company earnings to come in a little bit above current forecasts and for results to be stronger later this year, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

“The remaining quarters of the year are currently forecast to be higher,” Stovall said. “So, in many ways, analysts think that the first quarter was an anomaly not likely to be repeated.”

The S&P 500 index added 6.16 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,873.40. The index is now about 2 per cent shy of its most recent all-time high reached on September 20.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 26,218.13. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 46.86 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,895.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 7.59 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,560.91.

Major indexes in Europe finished higher.

Despite more volatile trading this week, the major US stock indexes are on track to end the week with gains, adding to the market’s blockbuster returns in the January-March period. The S&P 500 is now up 14.6 per cent this year.

Whether the market builds on that momentum depends much on the upcoming wave of company earnings reports, which should provide investors with an updated outlook on growth in corporate profits and a better read on the state of the global economy.

“With recent economic data out of China showing a possible bottoming, combined with sporadic strength of indicators here in the US, investors are of the mindset that the soft patch has already been negotiated,” Stovall said.

Delta will kick off the earnings results for airlines early next week, with JPMorgan and Wells Fargo leading bank earnings later in the week.

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