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08/02/24 Briefing

US stocks rose on Wednesday as investors digested a fresh inflow of quarterly earnings, with the debate over timing of interest rate cuts still rumbling in the background.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose 0.4%, or about 150 points, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) popped more than 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) was up nearly 1%. The S&P 500 closed at 4,995, a new record high, and is now nearing 5,000 for the first time ever.

The market took stock of performance this earnings season, with about two-thirds of S&P 500 company reports now in. Results have on average beaten Wall Street expectations, but some areas of weakness have emerged.

In Wednesday's morning trade, Alibaba (BABA) shares retreated more than 5% after the Chinese online retailer posted a revenue miss but said it will boost share buybacks by $25 billion. Meanwhile, shares of Snap (SNAP) tumbled more than 34% after the social media company's profit forecast for the current quarter came in worse than expected.

After the closing bell Disney (DIS) announced it would boost its cash dividend by 50% as the company reported fiscal first quarter earnings that beat expectations while streaming losses narrowed. Shares rose more than 6% in post-market trade.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Fed officials continued to tout that interest rates aren't likely to come down in March. Boston Fed President Susan Collins said that rate cuts could come "later this year," but first the central bank needs to see more evidence of inflation cooling.

Also top of mind for investors on Wednesday, growing troubles at New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) have stoked worries about regional banks and the health of the real estate sector. Moody's has downgraded the lender's credit rating to junk, and several brokerages have cut their price target amid warnings about governance risk. NYCB shares recovered slightly, rising 7% on Wednesday after sliding more than 22% on Tuesday.

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