By Medha Singh and Devik Jain
Aug 26 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes hit record highs on Wednesday following upbeat quarterly results from Salesforce and HP Enterprise as investors bought into tech-related stocks that have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Salesforce.com Inc CRM.N, which is set to enter the blue-chip Dow index .DJI next week, jumped 21.2% after raising its annual revenue forecast on surging demand for its online business software.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co HPE.N added 6.8% as its full-year profit outlook came ahead of market expectations and income-tax filing software firm Intuit Inc INTU.O advanced 1.7% after it reported a 17% rise in quarterly revenue.
The tech sector .SPLRCT climbed 1.1%, but eight of the 11 major S&P sectors eased.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have hit a series of record closing highs recently, driven by stimulus and demand for tech-focused stocks, even as economic data pointed to an uneven recovery from a recession. A survey on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence hit a six-year low in August.
All eyes will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's address at the virtual Jackson Hole Symposium before markets open on Thursday, where he is expected to outline a softer policy stance on inflation.
"We know that he's going to speak about inflation, and that he's going to say that the Fed remains committed to use all the necessary tools to help the economy as needed," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
"A lot of this is already in the marketplace, but the market wants confirmation of it."
At 9:56 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 38.79 points, or 0.14%, at 28,209.65, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.21 points, or 0.15%, at 3,448.83. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 60.90 points, or 0.53%, at 11,527.37.
Nordstrom Inc JWN.N tumbled 4.4% after reporting a bigger-than-expected loss as its stores were shuttered for about half of the reported quarter and consumers stayed at home with little need for designer clothes.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.42-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.09-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and two new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Arun Koyyur)
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