The Nasdaq hit a record high on Wednesday and the S&P 500 was close behind as reassuring comments from Texas Instruments about global chip demand blunted the impact of weak earnings reports from Boeing and Caterpillar.
Texas Instruments Inc jumped 7.1% after the company hinted that a global slowdown in microchip demand would not be as long as feared, powering the Philadelphia chip index up 2.8% to a record high.
“Semiconductor investors are looking past right now and saying that maybe in the second half of this year, economic concerns will start to abate a little," said Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.
However, trade-sensitive Caterpillar Inc dropped 4.1% following disappointing earnings on weak sales in China and higher production and restructuring costs.
Boeing Co fell 2.8% after the world's largest planemaker posted its largest-ever quarterly loss on the back of this year's grounding of its best-selling 737 MAX after two deadly crashes.
Those two companies' bleak reports left the Dow Jones Industrial Average in negative territory.
Two weeks into an earnings season with mute investor expectations, about 77% of the 138 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have topped earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Overall earnings per share, however, are now expected to fall 0.1%, compared with prior estimate of a rise of about 1%.
Wall Street has hit record levels in July on bets the Federal Reserve will lower rates next week to counter the impact of a protracted US-China trade war on economic growth.
At 2:15 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.48% at 27,217.97 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.16% to 3,010.34. The S&P 500 was 0.1% below its record high close on July 15.
The Nasdaq Composite added 0.38% to 8,283.09, beating its July 15 high.
Another bright spot was United Parcel Service Inc, up 8.5% and among the biggest gainers on the S&P 500 index, after the world's biggest package delivery company reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Facebook Inc traded flat ahead of its quarterly report after the market closes.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.96-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 31 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 66 new highs and 87 new lows.