NEW YORK (Nov 18): The Nasdaq led Wall Street higher on Thursday as chipmaker Nvidia rallied on robust third-quarter results, while a fresh batch of positive retail earnings indicated strength in consumer spending against the backdrop of rising inflation.
But the Dow Jones was held back by losses in network gear maker Cisco Systems Inc, which tumbled 8.3% after it forecast current-quarter revenue below expectations due to supply chain shortages and delays.
Nvidia shares jumped 10.7% to a record high after the company beat quarterly estimates and forecast strong fourth-quarter revenue, expecting to benefit from growth in its data center business and investments in the metaverse.
Broad gains in chip-making stocks pushed the Philadelphia semiconductor index up 2.1% to a record high.
Strong retail earnings continued to pour in, with Macy's Inc and Kohl's Corp up 15.8% and 6.3%, respectively, after they raised their annual sales and profit forecasts.
The S&P consumer discretionary sector rose 0.6%.
Coty Inc added 1.5% after the Hugo Boss fragrance maker forecast modest revenue growth for the next several years. Shares of peer Estee Lauder Cos Inc slipped 3.1%.
Positive readings from Walmart Inc and Target Corp this week showed that consumer sentiment has persevered through rising inflation, and that retailers are set for a strong holiday season.
"The stock market should resume its year-end rally based on the good earnings season and good macro news that's continuing to flow," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
"Inflation has gone up but for now the consumer is not showing any signs of pulling back. And that's a key."
Still, concerns over further increases in price pressure, along with uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's plans for tightening kept Wall Street somewhat muted this week.
Data also showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell closer to pre-pandemic levels last week, albeit at a slower-than-expected pace.
Ecommerce major Alibaba Group slumped 9.7% after it forecast annual revenue to grow at its slowest pace since its 2014 stock market debut amid slowing consumption, increasing competition and a regulatory crackdown.
At 9.42am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 21.57 points, or 0.06% at 35,909.48 and the S&P 500 was up 8.06 points or 0.17% at 4,696.73. The Nasdaq Composite was up 37.99 points, or 0.24%, at 15,959.56.
Broader technology stocks rose as investors sought sectors less exposed to rising inflation and supply chain issues.
Among other stocks, Boeing Co rose 1% after Virgin Australia said it would add seven more 737 NG planes to its fleet, and as J.P. Morgan upgraded the planemaker's stock to "overweight" from "neutral".
Kraft Heinz dipped 3.6% after the packaged food maker announced a secondary share offering.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 58 new highs and 190 new lows.