NEW YORK CITY, RAW – The S&P 500 has ended higher, registering a third straight session of gains with Alphabet Inc’s shares jumping following strong quarterly results.

Alphabet rose a day after its results, as it benefited from lockdowns that drove retail and other advertisers online.

S&P 500 companies are on track to post earnings growth for the fourth quarter of 2020, data from Refinitiv showed on Wednesday, which would defy expectations for profits to drop 10 per cent due to the pandemic.

The Cboe Volatility index eased and wild swings in stock prices of GameStop and other social media favourites subsided following a recent trading frenzy.

“The broad tape continues to be strong,” said Michael O’Rourke at JonesTrading in Stamford, Connecticut.


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The recent retail trading activity is likely “to be here for a while,” he said.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be here with the same intensity … It’s hard to maintain that type of intensity. What we’ll probably see are co-ordinated movements in individual names by that crowd.” Inc shares eased as Jeff Bezos’ surprise move to step down as chief executive quashed optimism about bumper quarterly results.

However analysts were upbeat on the promotion of its cloud computing head to the top job.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35.13 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 30,722.61, the S&P 500 gained 3.77 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 3,830.08 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.23 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 13,610.54.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is calling a meeting this week of top officials, including from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve, to discuss market volatility driven by retail trading in shares of GameStop, silver and other stocks favoured on social media.

The SEC is reviewing social media posts for potential fraud behind the recent trade frenzy in shares of GameStop and other companies, according to Bloomberg News.

President Joe Biden told congressional Democrats he would not back down on $US1400 ($A1,840) cheques for struggling Americans in his COVID-19 relief plan but would consider tighter limits on who gets them.

On the economic front, the ADP Report showed hiring by US private employers rebounded by 174,000 in January after a drop in December. A more comprehensive jobs report is expected on Friday.

A separate ISM survey showed US services industry activity raced to its highest level in nearly two years in January.