A late wave of buying left stocks modestly higher on Wall Street after a day of bobbing between small gains and losses and more in Wednesday’s Stock Market Update.

The gains Wednesday left major U.S. indexes slightly closer to the record high closes they reached in July.

Health care and communications companies did the most to pull the market higher.

Thermo Fisher Scientific rose 5.6% after reporting solid results and raising its forecast for full-year revenue and profit.

Boeing rose 1% after it said its 737 Max airplane may return to service by the end of the year and that it will gradually increase 737 production by late 2020. That helped make up for its weaker-than-expected profit for the latest quarter.

On the losing end was Texas Instruments, which said its customers have become far more cautious than they were even 90 days ago, with trade tensions a big factor. It reported stronger profits for the latest quarter than analysts expected, but its forecast for this quarter fell short of their estimates. It lost 7.4%.

Caterpillar, another company whose fortunes are seen on Wall Street as closely tied to President Donald Trump’s trade wars, briefly declined before climbing 1.2% after reporting weaker-than-expected profit for the latest quarter.

Eli Lilly also dragged on the market despite reporting stronger profit than Wall Street expected. Analysts pointed to weakness in a couple key medications for the drugmaker, and its stock lost 2.3%.


KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose 8 points, or 0.3%, to 3,004. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45 points, or 0.2%, to 26,833. The Nasdaq edged up 15 points, or 0.2%, to 8,119.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 1.76%.

Stock indexes in Europe were mixed as the United Kingdom’s pending exit from the European Union appeared set for yet another delay.

EARNINGS: Roughly a quarter of companies in the S&P 500 have reported how much profit they made from July through September, and analysts are still forecasting the index will end up showing a drop in earnings per share from a year earlier.

If they’re right, it would be the first time earnings have dropped for three straight quarters since 2015-16, according to FactSet.

The weakest results are expected to come from companies that are reliant on the strength of the global economy, which has been slowing amid trade wars. Raw-material producers, technology companies and energy stocks are predicted to report drops of 10% or more, according to FactSet.

But analysts are forecasting stronger growth for communications companies and businesses that sell to consumers, which have been the strongest part of the economy.

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