S&P's 5-day win streak rolls on

Stocks recovered from a late-afternoon bout of selling on Wall Street to finish modestly higher Wednesday, giving the benchmark S&P 500 its fifth straight gain.

Technology stocks powered much of the rally, led by chipmakers. Retailers, homebuilders and hotel operators were among the big gainers. Energy companies, consumer goods makers and industrial stocks took the heaviest losses.

The market’s last-minute rebound after an early rally faded echoed the prior day’s results and came in a mostly quiet week for market-moving news. That could change as swiftly as Friday, when the government issues its closely watched monthly tally of hiring by U.S. employers.

Investors were also gearing up for a new round of corporate earnings reports set to begin coming out next week. The overall forecast is for a weak round of results, with earnings by S&P 500 companies expected to contract by 4 percent, according to FactSet.

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 percent, to 2,873.40. The index is now about 2 percent shy of its most recent all-time high reached on Sept. 20.

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

Major indexes in Europe finished higher.

Despite more volatile trading this week, the major U.S. 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 percent this year.

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