The tech-heavy Nasdaq led Wall Street gains on Thursday (May 25) as Nvidia shares soared on a blowout forecast that also lifted other AI-related companies, while investors watched for signs of progress in US debt ceiling talks.
Shares of Nvidia Corp, the world's most valuable listed chip company, jumped 25.5 per cent to hit a record high, after it forecast quarterly revenue 50 per cent higher than Wall Street estimates and said it was ramping up supply to meet demand for its artificial intelligence chips.
Heavyweight AI players such as Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc rose about 2.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively, while the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index advanced 4.6 per cent to its highest level in more than a year.
"The word of the month is AI," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York. "Investors are just looking for any area of growth and right now that happens to be semiconductors."
Other chip companies including Advanced Micro Devices Inc , Micron Technology Inc and Broadcom Inc rose between 2.6 per cent and 9.5 per cent.
Dow Jones Industrial Average component Intel, which has little AI exposure, fell 5.7 per cent.
Wall Street's main indexes have dropped sharply in the last two sessions and could log their worst week in more than two months as investors await clarity on whether lawmakers will strike a deal to raise the nation's US$31.4 trillion debt ceiling or risk a calamitous default.
Later in the day, the White House and congressional Republicans will resume negotiations to try to reach a deal as the Jun 1 deadline looms large.
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said to Fox News that he was unsure if the two sides will be able to reach a deal on Thursday.
Reflecting the market uncertainty, yields on US Treasury bills maturing in early June rose above 7 per cent, while two-year yields hit their highest since March after ratings agencies Fitch and DBRS Morningstar put the United States on credit watch for a possible downgrade.
Meanwhile, data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose only moderately last week, while a Commerce Department report confirmed economic growth slowed in the first quarter.
At 10.03 am, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 37.98 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 32,761.94, the S&P 500 was up 23.37 points, or 0.57 per cent, at 4,138.61, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 159.10 points, or 1.27 per cent, at 12,643.26.
Ralph Lauren rose 8.6 per cent after the luxury retailer beat profit estimates.
Among more mid-cap retail earnings, Best Buy Co Inc rose 3.7 per cent after the electronics retailer beat quarterly profit estimates, while discount retailer Dollar Tree Inc fell 15.0 per cent on cutting its annual profit outlook.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.46-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.47-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded seven new 52-week highs and 21 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 62 new lows.