Another new high for S&P 500 as Netflix and tech leap
The S&P 500 has climbed to its fourth straight record high close as Netflix surged following blowout quarterly results and a strong report from ASML fuelled gains in chip makers.
Riding optimism about Wall Street's most valuable companies, Microsoft hit a record high, lifting its market value above $US3 trillion for the first time.
The Nasdaq touched its highest since January 2022 and is now less than four per cent below its record high close in November 2021.
Netflix jumped 10.7 per cent to a two-year high on Wednesday after strong subscriber growth cemented investor confidence the firm has won the streaming wars with its password-sharing crackdown and a strong content slate.
The S&P 500 communication services index, which includes Netflix, rose 1.2 per cent and also hit a two-year high.
Alphabet and Meta Platforms, part of the so-called Magnificent Seven group of heavyweights that drove much of 2023's recovery in the S&P 500, each gained more than one per cent.
"Technology-enabled companies - the Magnificent Seven in particular and the AI theme - last year put up some ridiculous earnings and guidance," said Mike Dickson, head of research at Horizon Investments.
We will see over the next 10 days how that plays out, but early indications are certainly pretty positive."
The S&P 500 climbed 0.08 per cent to end the session at 4,868.55 points.
Even as the S&P 500 rose, declining stocks outnumbered rising ones within the index by a 2.5-to-one ratio.
The Nasdaq gained 0.36 per cent to 15,481.92 points, while Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.26 per cent to 37,806.39 points.
Tesla dipped 0.6 per cent and weighed on the S&P 500. The car maker was scheduled to report December-quarter results after the closing bell.
The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index rose 1.54 per cent to a record high after upbeat results from manufacturing equipment maker ASML Holding pointed to a recovery in global chip demand.
Nvidia and Broadcom both jumped more than two per cent and hit record highs.
AT&T dropped three per cent after forecasting annual profit below expectations, while DuPont De Nemours slumped 14 per cent after forecasting a fourth-quarter loss.
On the data front, a survey showed business activity picked up in January and inflation appeared to abate, suggesting that the economy kicked off 2024 on a strong note.
A resilient US economy and uncertainty over the timing of interest rate cuts have led investors to reassess their bets on how quickly the Federal Reserve will cut rates this year.
Traders now see an 85.5 per cent chance of a rate cut in May, according to CME Group's FedWatch Tool. Traders previously expected a rate cut in as early as March.
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