Wall Street's major stock indexes closed higher on Wednesday, with the benchmark S&P 500 scaling a record high, as investors applauded overall strength in US earnings and monitored policymaker comments for clues on the interest rate outlook.
Ford shares rose as the automaker increased its first-quarter dividend and decided to scale back investments in new capacity for loss-making electric vehicles.
With more than half of the S&P 500 companies having reported quarterly results, more than 80 percent have surpassed profit expectations, according to LSEG data.
"The optimism around, for the most part, better earnings results, continues to carry the day and continues to keep the market in a positive bias," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent to 38,677, the S&P 500 gained 0.8 percent to 4,995 and the Nasdaq Composite rose almost one percent to 15,756.
The S&P notched a record closing high while the Nasdaq was shy of its record close of 16,057.44 recorded in November 2021.
On Sunday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell ruled out a March interest rate cut, and now traders were looking for fresh clues from other Fed officials.
Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari noted he expects two to three rate cuts this year for now, while Fed Governor Adriana Kugler said more assurance is needed before lowering rates.
Uber shares rose after it announced its first full-year profit since listing. (Reuters)