190430 Nasdaq
A monitor displays signage in front of the Nasdaq MarketSite in the Times Square area of New York, U.S., on Friday, April 26, 2019. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Wall Street ended higher on Wednesday, supported by gains in Salesforce and Intuit while investors awaited the US Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference this week.

Boosting the tech-heavy Nasdaq, Tesla Inc gained ahead of a stock split, while Intuit Inc rallied after the accounting software maker forecast upbeat fiscal 2023 revenue.

Salesforce Inc climbed ahead of the business software seller’s quarterly report after the bell.

The S&P 500 lost ground in the previous three sessions after a summer rally was halted by growing concerns of an aggressive stance by the Fed, an energy crisis in Europe and signs of economic slowdown in China.

Investor are now focused be on the Jackson Hole symposium that begins on Thursday, with remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Friday potentially providing clues about the pace of future rate hikes and whether the central bank can achieve a “soft landing” for the economy.

“The market is biding its time to get more information on the most important things, which are inflation and the Fed’s rate path,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta.

Traders are divided between expecting a 50-basis point hike and a 75-basis point hike by the US central bank.

President Joe Biden said the US government will forgive $10,000 in student loans for many debt-saddled college-goers, a move that could boost support for his fellow Democrats in the November congressional elections but also may fuel inflation.

Helped by corporate quarterly results that were not as bad as feared, the S&P 500 has recovered 13 per cent from its mid-June lows. The benchmark index is set to end the year a little above its current level, according to strategists recently polled by Reuters.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 12.56 points, or 0.30 per cent, to end at 4,141.29 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 51.08 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 12,432.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 58.69 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 32,982.80.

Peloton Interactive surged after the stationary bike company said it would sell its products on Amazon in a bid to boost sales that have dropped following the end of pandemic lockdowns.

Nordstrom Inc tumbled after the retailer cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts, a sign that inflation is squeezing consumer spending on its high-end clothing and footwear.