Stocks closed slightly higher on Wall Street Wednesday as investors shook off a bout of volatility after nearly a week of high volatility. Major indexes recovered from early losses after Senator Mitch McConnell offered Democrats a short-term extension of the debt ceiling, relieving some of the uncertainty over a possible government shutdown. The S&P 500 rose 17.83 points, or 0.4%, to 4,363.55. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 102.32 points, or 0.3%, to 34,416.99. The Nasdaq rose 68.08 points, or 0.5%, to 14,501.91.
Energy prices are retreating after a strong rally that contributed to inflation fears, the AP reports. US crude oil fell 2% and natural gas plunged 9.7%. The drop weighed on energy companies. Exxon Mobil fell 1.9%. Investors are grappling with a long list of uncertainties, and that could mean a more durable pullback in stocks than Wall Street has experienced so far this year, says Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. Inflation and the debt ceiling timeline in Washington are both key concerns, he says.
Investors will get a closer look at how companies fared in the third quarter when companies release their quarterly financial results over the coming weeks. Wall Street is expecting solid profit growth of 27% for S&P 500 companies, but will also be listening for commentary on how supply chain problems and higher costs are crimping operations. Companies from a wide range of industries have issued warnings about supply chain problems, shipping delays and higher materials costs. Some companies are growing more concerned that the problem could stretch into the holiday shopping season that typically starts in late November. (Read more stock market stories.)