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Wall St ends higher as tech stocks rise

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Wall Street has closed higher with the tech-heavy Nasdaq booking a nearly 2.0 per cent gain on positive earnings signals with a wary eye on inflation and more interest rate hikes by the Fed.

Netflix Inc's shares jumped after the company predicted it would return to customer growth during the third quarter, while posting a smaller than expected one million drop in subscribers in the second quarter.

Other high-growth stocks extended gains following the forecast from the streaming service provider, including shares of Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Meta Platforms Inc.

Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc added 0.6 per cent ahead of its earnings report after market close.

"Equity prices are trending in a roller coaster fashion, currently being at the mercy of inflation, interest rates and earnings," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management.

"We're going to need another series of reporting cycles to confirm whether or not inflation indeed is getting under control."

Analysts expect aggregate year-on-year S&P 500 profit to grow 5.9 per cent in this reporting season, down from the 6.8 per cent estimate at the start of the quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

Runaway inflation initially led markets to price in a full 100-basis-point hike in interest rates at the Fed's upcoming meeting next week until some policymakers signalled a 75-basis-point increase.

The S&P 500 gained 22.89 points, or 0.58 per cent, to end at 3,959.58 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 185.15 points, or 1.58 per cent, to 11,898.30 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44.10 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 31,871.15.

Trading remained volatile in thin volumes, with the CBOE Volatility index last down 23.71 points to its lowest in nearly three months.

"Low volumes accentuate market moves historically and even though we've wiped off $US10 or $US15 trillion from global equities this year, there's still a lot of excess liquidity. So low volume on excess liquidity can still accentuate moves," John Lynch, chief investment officer for Comerica Wealth Management, said.

Health insurer Elevance Health Inc plunged as the largest S&P percentage loser as the company's medical costs failed to decrease in line with rival UnitedHealth Group Inc.

Baker Hughes Co tumbled as the oilfield services provider reported a bigger second-quarter loss while its adjusted profit also missed estimates.

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