Major U.S. stock indexes finished higher Thursday after a late burst of buying led by technology and financial companies reversed an early slide.
News of a spike in the number of confirmed cases and fatalities from a virus outbreak in China put investors in a selling mood for most of the day, overshadowing a batch of mostly solid company earnings reports.
Traders have been worried that the outbreak could end up dampening global economic growth. But those concerns appeared to ease by late afternoon, after the director general of the World Health Organization said that the organization was not recommending limiting travel or trade to China.
“There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva after the WHO officially declared the outbreak a global emergency.
Technology and financial companies led the market’s rebound. Companies that rely on consumer spending also notched solid gains. Health care and communication stocks fell the most.
Shares of Amazon.com Inc. soared 12% in after-hours trading Thursday after the Seattle-based company reported net income of $3.27 billion, or $6.47 per share, in the three months ending in December. That was up from $3.03 billion, or $6.04 per share the year before. Analysts were expecting earnings of $4.04 per share in the latest quarter, according to research firm FactSet.
The S&P 500 index rose 10.26 points, or 0.3%, to 3,283.66. The index had been down 0.9% earlier in the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 124.99 points, or 0.4%, to 28,859.44. The Nasdaq added 23.77 points, or 0.3%, to 9,298.93.
Smaller company stocks recovered most of the way after taking the brunt of the selling. The Russell 2000 index slipped 1 point, or 0.1%, to 1,648.22.
Stocks have given up some ground after a strong start to the year amid uncertainty over the virus outbreak. Still, the major indexes remain on track to end January with gains.