Wall Street Ends Mostly Higher After A Late Wave Of Buying

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks ended mostly higher on Wall Street after a listless day of trading. The S&P 500 edged up 0.1%. The Dow also added 0.1% after turning slightly higher just before the close. Weakness in technology shares weighed on the Nasdaq, which ended 0.3% lower. Palo Alto Networks sank more than 28%. The network security company forecast billings that came in well below what analysts were looking for. Amazon rose following news that it would be added to the Dow. Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is leaving the Dow, fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 4.32%.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP's earlier story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell on Wall Street Wednesday as weakness in technology companies continues to drag on the market.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.5% in afternoon trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 1.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 178 points, or 0.5% as of 2:43 p.m. Eastern.

Palo Alto Networks was a big loser and a particularly heavy weight on the technology sector. The network security company sank 27.2% after giving forecasts for future billings that came in well below what analysts were looking for. Its rival, Fortinet, slumped 4.6%.

Amazon rose 0.1% following an announcement that it would be added to the Dow. Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is leaving the Dow, fell 3.3%

Bond yields remained relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.32% from 4.28% late Tuesday.

Markets were mostly higher in Europe and mixed in Asia.

Earnings remained the big focus for Wall Street. Nvidia will report its highly anticipated results later in the day. The chipmaker has tripled over the past year thanks to a surge in investor enthusiasm over artificial intelligence.

Technology stocks drove much of the market's rally that brought it to new records just last week. The sector is also showing some of the strongest earnings growth. But, lopsided contributions from some of the bigger companies in the sector have raised questions about whether the gains were overdone.

"In February we're seeing some of that settle out as we try and get a better bead on how the full year is going to go," said Rob Haworth, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

Several other companies made big moves following the release of their financial results. Electronic measurement technology company Keysight Technologies fell 7.3% after its profit forecast fell short of analysts' expectations. Garmin, which makes personal navigation devices, jumped 10% after beating earnings forecasts.

Toll Brothers rose 4.1% after giving investors an encouraging financial update as it sees strong demand. That helped support gains throughout the homebuilding sector.

Energy companies gained ground as natural gas prices jumped 9%. Exxon Mobil rose 1.9%.

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest meeting in January that showed most officials are worried about moving too fast to cut their benchmark interest. The central bank left the rate alone for the fourth time in a row at that meeting. Investors have all but lost hope that the central bank will cut rates at its March meeting and are looking for the first rate cut to come in June.

Investors have to wait until next week for another key update on inflation. That's when the government will release its monthly report on personal consumption and expenses, the Fed's preferred measure of inflation. The central bank's goal has been to tame inflation back to 2% and analysts expect that report to show it cooled to 2.3% in January. Inflation by that measure peaked at 7.1% in June of 2022.

"As long as the labor market holds up, the Fed can afford to slow walk rate cuts," said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group. "Inflation fighting is much easier when the labor market cooperates."

Separate measures for consumer and wholesale prices in January show that inflation didn't cool as much as anticipated. That prompted investors to shift expectations for rate cuts from March to June. A weak report on retail sales added to the disappointing inflation data and raised concerns that stubborn inflation is inflicting more pain on consumers. Tighter consumer spending could put more pressure on businesses in 2024.