Solid earnings helped push Dave & Buster's higher, while weak earnings sent GameStop lower. Consumer product and utility companies lagged the market as investors moved toward riskier holdings, signaling more confidence in economic growth.
The U.S. and China resumed negotiations Wednesday to end a trade war that has raised prices on goods for both consumers and companies. Investors hope that the world's two largest economies can agree to pull back on some of those tariffs and move toward a more stable trading partnership.
Markets have swayed for months as the contentious talks drag on. The latest reports say that both sides have resolved most of the key issues, with some pledges from China to end practices viewed by the U.S. as technology theft.
Investors are also keeping a close watch on Britain's messy departure from the European Union and a new round of corporate earnings results set to begin next week. The overall forecast is for a weak round of results, with earnings by S&P 500 companies expected to contract by 4 percent, according to FactSet.
Delta will kick off the earnings results for airlines early next week, with JPMorgan and Wells Fargo leading bank earnings later in the week. KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 80 points, or 0.3%, to 26,259 as of 11:30 a.m. The S&P 500 index rose 0.6% as it comes off of a four-day winning streak. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.1%.
WEAK GAME: Video game retailer GameStop fell 4% after reporting weak first-quarter sales, with more of the same likely for the year. It expects sales to fall as much as 10% this year and would not give investors a profit forecast. The stock has lost about two-thirds of its value since 2015 as revenue declines while gamers bypass retail shops for games that can be bought and played online.
MORE EATING, DRINKING AND PLAYING: Dave & Buster's rose 5% after the restaurant and arcade operator beat fourth-quarter forecasts. A key sales figure jumped and also beat forecasts as the company attracted more business with the addition of a virtual reality game platform.
NEW INGREDIENT: Blue Apron, which delivers ready-to-make meal kits, rose 10% as it changes leadership. CEO Bradley Dickerson resigned and is being replaced by former Etsy executive Linda Kozlowski. The company has been struggling since it went public in June 2017. Its stock is down about 90 percent since then.