The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose on Wednesday as several corporate executives gave positive outlooks that eased concerns about the global recession, while a better-than-expected profit from AT&T lifted technology shares.
But falling oil prices pressured shares of big energy companies, pushing the Dow industrials lower. Exxon Mobil
JPMorgan recommended that Caterpillar should make up a larger part of investors' portfolios, and the company's shares rose 6.3 percent to $33.36, making them a top driver in the S&P 500.
Apple, which reports results after the closing bell, was a top gainer on the Nasdaq, up 1.4 percent at $123.46.
The market seems to be navigating earnings season in good form, said David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors in New York.
The market is looking beyond the current recession and focusing on the fact that companies are navigating it and expecting to improve later in the year, he said.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 2.92 points, or 0.34 percent, to 853.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 18.58 points, or 1.13 percent, to 1,662.43. But the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 11.31 points, or 0.13 percent, to 7,958.25.
Gilead Sciences Inc
But Morgan Stanley
Banks have helped lead the six-week rally that sent the broad S&P 500 up more than 26 percent from March's bear market lows.
Exxon Mobil Corp
(Editing by Jan Paschal)