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S&P 500 Almost Hits Record High        10/20 15:54

   Solid earnings from health care companies helped send stocks higher on Wall 
Street Wednesday and pushed the benchmark S&P 500 to the brink of another 
record high.

   (AP) -- Solid earnings from health care companies helped send stocks higher 
on Wall Street Wednesday and pushed the benchmark S&P 500 to the brink of 
another record high.

   The market has been gaining ground as investors shift their focus to the 
latest round of corporate earnings. Stocks have been choppy for weeks as rising 
inflation and lackluster economic data raised concerns about the path ahead for 
the economic recovery.

   The S&P 500 rose 16.56 points, or 0.4%, to 4,536.19. It's the sixth straight 
gain for the benchmark index and puts it less than a point from the all-time 
high it set on Sept. 2.

   The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.03 points, or 0.4%, to 35,609.34. 
The Nasdaq fell 7.41 points, or less than 0.1%, to 15,121.68.

   "The reason we're seeing this rally over the last week is that company 
earnings are looking really good," said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment 
officer at Defiance ETFs. "Most companies are managing inflationary pressures 
and pricing issues and that's helping to alleviate concerns about overvaluation 
and inflation."

   Wall Street cheered solid earnings from a variety of health care companies. 
Abbott Laboratories, which makes infant formula, medical devices and drugs, 
rose 3.3% after handily beating analysts' third-quarter profit forecasts. 
Health insurer Anthem rose 7.7% after also reporting strong financial results. 
Technology stocks lagged the broader market.

   Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.65% from 1.63% 
late Tuesday.

   Netflix fell 2.2% after forecasting earnings for its current quarter that 
were below analysts' estimates.

   PayPal fell 4.9% following reports that it is considering buying digital 
pinboard and shopping tool Pinterest, which jumped 12.8%.

   The price of Bitcoin rose above $66,000 for the first time. The gains came a 
day after the first exchange-traded fund linked to Bitcoin futures attracted 
huge interest from investors looking to get into the surging field of 
cryptocurrencies.

   Investors are busy reviewing the latest report cards from companies as they 
try to get a clearer understanding of how rising inflation and the lingering 
threat from COVID-19 will affect the economy.

   A key concern remains supply chain disruptions and rising materials costs 
cutting into profits for many companies. Higher costs for companies could mean 
higher prices for consumers, which could threaten spending that is supporting 
the recovery.

   Oilfield services company Baker Hughes fell 5.7% after reporting weak 
third-quarter financial results, partly because of supply chain problems and 
higher costs. Brinker International, which operates Chili's Grill & Bar, fell 
9.7% after its fiscal first-quarter profit fell far short of analysts' 
forecasts as it faces higher commodity and labor costs.

   Investors seem to be taking the impact from rising inflation on companies in 
stride, said Greg Bassuk, CEO at AXS Investments.

   "Without big surprises on the downside, or something really outsized, the 
bulls are overtaking the bears," he said.

   Rising inflation has also put a sharper focus on the Federal Reserve and its 
plans to start trimming bond purchases that have helped keep interest rates 
low. The central bank maintained through most of the year that inflation would 
likely be temporary and tied to the economic recovery, but it has grown more 
concerned about rising inflation persisting.

   Railroad operator CSX gained ground in after-hours trading after reporting 
solid financial results, while Tesla slipped after reporting its results.

   There are still several large companies on deck to release their earnings 
this week. American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Union Pacific will report 
on Thursday.

 
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