Stocks Creep Up Ahead of Tech Earnings

U.S. share benchmarks edged up ahead of a big week of earnings from major technology companies.  

The S&P 500 ticked up 0.2% Monday, pointing to an extension of last week’s rise, which saw the broad market index climb 1.6% and hit a fresh high. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.4%, suggesting gains for technology stocks to start the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%.

Facebook is scheduled to report third-quarter results Monday after markets close. Microsoft, Twitter and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, are scheduled for Tuesday. Apple and Amazon.com are expected to report later in the week. 

Shares of PayPal jumped over 5% after it said it wasn’t pursuing a takeover of social-media company Pinterest, pushing back against reports last week of a potential deal that sent the stock down. Pinterest shares tumbled 14% Monday. 

Strong earnings from banks, consumer companies and manufacturers have soothed investors’ concerns that higher inflation and labor shortages could erode profits. U.S. indexes have neared or passed all-time highs. 

“One of the more notable takeaways from the earnings reports seen so far has been the ability of companies, for the most part, to pass on increases in prices onto their customers without seeing a drop in sales,” said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC Markets.

Disappointing results last week from social-media company Snap, which warned that tougher privacy rules from Apple would likely crimp its advertising sales, could be a “canary in the coal mine for the rest of the tech sector,” Mr. Hewson said. Should the tech giants reporting earnings this week also post dour outlooks, it “could see the mood sour quite quickly.”

A key question remaining is how global central banks will respond to rising prices. Recent trading in short-dated U.K. gilts suggests investors think the British government may raise interest rates as soon as November. Investors await comments from the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, which both have meetings scheduled this week. The Federal Reserve has signaled a possible rate increase next year

Money managers are also closely watching negotiations among U.S. lawmakers about the fate of President Joe Biden’s sweeping social-policy spending package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she was optimistic an agreement could be reached this week on the framework for the legislation, and a vote on a separate infrastructure funding bill. 

Government spending on that scale “will continue to support growth,” said Esty Dwek, chief investment officer at Swiss online bank FlowBank. “The question now is more about taxes and how they will pay for it.” 

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note ticked lower to 1.65% Monday from 1.654% Friday. Yields move inversely to bond prices.

Oil prices rose, with U.S. benchmark WTI rising 1.4% to trade above $85 for the first time since 2014.

“The market is increasingly looking at the issues of very expensive natural gas having two effects on oil markets,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at Nordic bank SEB. Oil demand is higher due to a switch to diesel from natural gas, but supply is lower due to the rising costs of refining, particularly for higher-sulfur grades of crude, he said.  

Bitcoin rose 3.4% Monday above its level at 5 p.m. ET Friday, trading around $62,800. The cryptocurrency has wavered after it cleared $66,000 to hit a new all-time high last week.

A bitcoin mining facility in upstate New York uses electricity from a hydroelectric plant powered by the Niagara River.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 was relatively flat Monday. Among European equities, HSBC rose 1.3% after it reported a jump in third-quarter profit and said it would spend up to $2 billion on stock buybacks.

Volvo Cars cut the size of its Stockholm stock-market listing and priced its shares at the bottom of its suggested range, suggesting it had struggled to attract enough investor interest. It also pushed back its trading debut to Friday.

In Asia, major benchmarks were mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.7%. Shares of Panasonic rose 4.9% after the Japanese company said it was manufacturing a more powerful lithium-ion battery that it expected to supply to Tesla. The electric-vehicle maker was up 4.3% premarket.

The Turkish lira depreciated to its weakest level on record before recovering some ground and trading at around 9.66 lira to the dollar Monday. This came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel the U.S. ambassador and top diplomats from nine other Western countries over the weekend.

Strong earnings have sent stocks higher over the past week.

Photo: justin lane/Shutterstock

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

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