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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ticking higher Wednesday after more companies delivered fatter profits than expected.

The S&P 500 was 0.4% higher in early trading and just below its all-time high set two weeks ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 62 points, or 0.2%, as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite was 0.6% higher and also approaching its record.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise jumped 12.8% after saying strong sales related to artificial-intelligence systems helped it deliver better profit and revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It also raised its financial forecasts for the year. Cybersecurity company Crowdstrike climbed 9.5% after likewise delivering better results than expected.

They offset a 0.6% slip for Dollar Tree, which matched analysts’ expectations for profit but fell just shy for revenue. The retailer also said it’s considering selling or spinning off its Family Dollar business. The broad retail industry has been highlighting challenges for lower-income U.S. households, which are trying to keep up with still-high inflation.

Stocks have generally been shaky recently after reports suggested the U.S. economy’s growth is fading amid high interest rates meant to get inflation under control. Wall Street has actually been hoping for such a slowdown because it can drive down inflation and convince the Federal Reserve to deliver the cuts to interest rates that traders desire so much. But it also raises the possibility of overshooting and sending the economy into a recession, which would ultimately hurt stock prices.

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A report on Wednesday morning suggested hiring slowed last month by more than expected at U.S. employers outside the government. More data later in the morning will show how construction, finance and other businesses in the U.S. services sector are doing.

The next big move for Treasury yields and Wall Street overall could come from Friday’s jobs report from the U.S. government. That report is much more comprehensive than Wednesday’s from ADP, which focuses only on the private sector, and economists expect Friday’s data to show a slight pickup in overall hiring. The hope continues to be that the job market slows its growth but not so much that it falls into widespread layoffs.

Treasury yields have sunk sharply recently as weaker-than-expected reports on the economy have raised expectations for coming cuts to rates by the Federal Reserve.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged down a bit more to 4.31% from 4.33% late Tuesday and from 4.60% a week ago.

In stock markets abroad, indexes rose across much of Europe. Investors expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates at its meeting on Thursday amid worries about a flaccid economy.

Stocks fell across much of Asia, with indexes falling 0.9% in Tokyo and 0.8%, but they rose 1% in Seoul.


AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.

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