U.S. stocks rose in a choppy session on Wednesday, with JPMorgan's results weighing on financial shares, while the technology sector outperformed as strong earnings enticed investors.
Utilities' stocks also helped buoy the S&P 500, pointing to an embrace of more defensive bets.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
There's a growing sense there could be some disappointment in the earnings season, said Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management in Minnesota.
The good news is what you don't see here any kind of panic going on, he said. More than anything, this (backing and filling) helps.
In an outline of his budget proposal, President Barack Obama said he would refuse to renew Bush-era tax breaks for wealthier Americans. A deal to extend those cuts last December propelled the S&P 500 to its highest level in two years.
From a technical perspective, the S&P 500 weakened as its daily moving average convergence-divergence, a gauge of short-term relative performance, triggered a sell signal for the first time since late March.
The benchmark S&P 500's momentum was at its lowest since late March and its relative strength index, near 48, was neutral and far from oversold despite four consecutive days of losses.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 13.88 points, or 0.11 percent, to 12,277.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 2.21 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,316.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 18.79 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,763.58.
EMC Corp led the technology sector's gains after a Goldman Sachs analyst said he expects a better-than-consensus quarter for the top maker of corporate data storage equipment.
The S&P Information Technology Index <.GSPT> added 0.8 percent. EMC's shares shot up 3.6 percent to $26.77.
The Nasdaq also got a boost from Riverbed Technology Inc's
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Jan Paschal)