Major stock indexes rose Tuesday as investors weighed the strong earnings season against risks posed by the Delta coronavirus variant.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5%, or about 163 points, as of the 4 p.m. close of trading in New York, while the S&P 500 added 0.1%. Both stock gauges were on pace to close above last week’s all-time highs. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped about 0.5%, weighed down by losses in big tech stocks.
The earnings season that is now winding down has bolstered the case for stocks, with analysts expecting that profits from companies in the S&P 500 grew 90% in the second quarter from a year earlier, easily surpassing earlier projections.
At the same time, many investors are watching with concern the increase in Covid-19 cases in the U.S. Some local governments and businesses have reinstated restrictions, raising questions about the economic outlook.
“I’m looking at really, really great, strong earnings growth that has propelled a lot of the stock market higher,” said Jim Worden, chief investment officer at the Wealth Consulting Group. “I’m also keeping an eye on this Delta variant and how that might affect some companies, some industries if people are kind of shy to get back out there and spend and travel and all of those other things that people have been wanting to do for some time.”