New York: Wall Street stocks were modestly higher Friday after earnings from major banks topped expectations, shifting attention from lingering worries over Syria and trade.
About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 percent to 24,552.95.
The broad-based S&P 500 also gained 0.3 percent to 2,672.38, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 percent to 7,157.16.
With anxiety over US-China trade tensions, higher Federal Reserve interest rates and a possible military strike on Syria pressuring stocks, analysts have hoped that a strong first-quarter earnings season could be the catalyst that pushes stocks higher.
JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo all reported better-than-expected profits Friday, giving a lift to broader sentiment.
However shares of the banks themselves were choppy, with JPMorgan and Citigroup each losing 0.5 percent and Wells Fargo dropping 1.4 percent. All three had risen in pre-market trading.
“The movement in the bank stocks — and the broader financial sector — after the open is going to be a key sentiment driver today,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare.
“If the gains can be maintained (or added to), the stock market should show some fortitude in holding a positive bias,” O’Hare said.
“If the bank stocks roll over, however, it would be regarded as a disappointing development that will raise concerns about the ability of good earnings news to help drown out the festering angst related to trade, geopolitical, and monetary policy matters.”