U.S. stocks trended higher Wednesday morning, with the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 88 points amid upbeat performances from index heavyweights Honeywell and Microsoft.
The Dow rose 0.3% in morning trading to hit 29,364, as shares of industrial conglomerate Honeywell and software giant Microsoft powered the blue-chip index’s advance.
Honeywell saw its stock jump 1.9%, contributing over 40 points to the Dow’s gains. The company’s shares climbed $3.57 to $193.06 apiece after reporting forecast-beating quarterly results.
Honeywell’s fourth-quarter earnings and sales exceeded Wall Street estimates, reflecting strong demand for its aerospace and building technology products. The company also issued an upbeat profit outlook for 2023.
Meanwhile, Microsoft stock rose 0.9% to add around 30 points to the Dow’s advance. Shares gained $3.02 to reach $340.99 as investors continue to reward the company’s robust cloud computing growth.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform has emerged as its main profit driver, offsetting weakness in the PC market that has challenged Windows-related revenues. Cloud strength led Microsoft to deliver forecast-topping results in its recently completed fiscal second quarter.
Along with Honeywell and Microsoft, other top Dow contributors on Wednesday included Goldman Sachs, American Express and UnitedHealth Group.
Goldman stock climbed 1.5% as the investment bank continues to see increased trading activity boost profits amid financial market volatility. American Express rose nearly 1% as it benefits from resilient consumer spending while also diversifying revenue streams.
And UnitedHealth, the largest publicly traded health insurer, edged up 0.3% to new record highs after reporting both revenue and earnings that handily exceeded Wall Street targets.
Gains among the 30 Dow components were broad-based, with 27 of 30 stocks trading higher on the day. In one exception, shares of aircraft manufacturer Boeing fell around 1% as ongoing production issues weighed on financial results.
Still, the Dow’s advance reflected underlying optimism about corporate profits even as the Federal Reserve maintains an aggressive policy stance to rein in inflation. Many companies continue to report demand has remained resilient despite economic uncertainty.
The Dow’s early jump on Wednesday also coincided with a rally in technology shares, which have rebounded somewhat from a steep selloff in 2022. Gains in Apple, Microsoft and other tech heavyweights helped lift the tech-concentrated Nasdaq Composite by around 0.5% in morning trading.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 also climbed 0.4% as the broad-based index trended near a key technical level of 4,000. Breaking above that threshold could signal further upside after the S&P 500’s double-digit gain to start 2023.
With corporate results generally beating lowered expectations, stocks have rallied amid hopes that the economy can avoid a severe downturn even as the Fed keeps rates elevated. But lingering inflation pressures and geopolitical turmoil mean markets likely face ongoing turbulence.