US Stocks End Higher Ahead of Thanksgiving

(AP) -- Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, keeping the market on pace for a fourth straight winning week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, with nearly all of its sectors notching gains on the final day of trading ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite each rose 0.5%.

All told, the S&P 500 added 18.43 points to 4,556.62. The Dow rose 184.74 points to 35,273.03, and the Nasdaq gained 65.88 points to 14,265.86.

Technology and communications services stocks accounted for a big share of the gains for the S&P 500. Microsoft rose 1.3% and Google parent Alphabet added 1.1%.

Energy stocks were the only laggard, slipping 0.1%. The price of U.S. crude oil fell 0.9% after OPEC said it would postpone its latest conference to next week. The oil cartel has been maintaining a tight market for crude oil with production cuts.

The drop in oil prices weighed on energy companies. Energy giant Exxon Mobil fell 0.4% and oilfield services company Halliburton dropped 0.8%.

The pullback in oil prices helped boost shares in airlines and other companies that stand to benefit from lower fuel costs. United Airlines rose 0.9% and American Airlines gained 1.5%. Cruise line operator Carnival rose 1.9%.

Nvidia fell 2.5%, despite handily beating analysts' profit and revenue forecasts. The company continues to face pressure because of export restrictions to China. Nvidia's stock has more than tripled this year amid booming demand for its chips in artificial intelligence applications.

Treasury yields were relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.41% from 4.40% late Tuesday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury slipped to 4.88% from 4.89% late Tuesday.

Stocks in Asia and Europe ended mostly mixed. Trading tapered off ahead of holidays in the U.S. and Japan, with few data releases to give markets direction. Markets will be closed in the U.S. on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will close early on Friday.

A consumer sentiment survey by the University of Michigan showed that confidence remains strong. Wall Street has been closely watching consumer spending and confidence reports for more clues on the economy's path ahead.

"There's a real sense out there that we're making progress," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. "Slowing, but growing is what the economy is doing."

Forecasts for a potential recession have been pushed further out into 2024 while also being softened. The rate of inflation continues to ease, consumer spending remains solid and the economy is generally humming along. That has encouraged hopes, and bets, that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and could soon consider cutting rates.

Fed officials, though, have said the outlook for the economy remains uncertain and they'll make upcoming decisions on rates based on incoming reports. The Fed will get another big update next week when the government releases its October report for a key inflation measure tracked by the central bank.

Meanwhile, investors had their eye on the latest round of corporate earnings.

Several well-known retailers reported their latest financial results. Department store operator Nordstrom fell 4.6% after trimming its profit forecast for the year. Clothing retailer Guess slumped 12.3% after cutting its financial forecast.

Tractor maker Deere, a bellwether for the agricultural industry, fell 3.1% after giving Wall Street a discouraging financial forecast and industry outlook.

Broadcom slipped 0.9% after announcing that it expects to complete its $69 billion deal to acquire VMWare on Wednesday after clearing all regulatory hurdles.