Wall Street's main indexes jumped at the open on Friday, with Apple and Facebook hitting a record high as stunning quarterly reports from some of the biggest USA tech firms helped keep nagging pandemic nerves at bay.
TNN Google-parent Alphabet Inc, on the other hand, fell 4.5% as quarterly sales dipped for the first time in its 16 years as a public company.
U.S. deaths from Covid-19 appeared to be rising at their fastest rate since early June, and the Midwest looked like the current epicentre of the pandemic. Apple's gain pushed it ahead of Saudi Aramco as the world's most valuable public company, according to Refinitiv data.
In late trade, stocks moved higher into the close as Microsoft shares pared losses of more than 2% after reports the company was said to be in talks to buy video app TikTok.
Inc AMZN.O jumped 3.7% after posting the biggest profit in its 26-year history, while Facebook Inc FB.O climbed 7.5% after it reported better-than-expected revenue.
A surge in the stocks of the tech titans, which make up almost a fifth of the S&P 500's value, and an estimated $5 trillion in asset purchases unleashed by the five biggest central banks globally have set the S&P 500 on course for its fourth straight monthly gain.
As of writing, the S&P 500 was up 0.2% on the day at 3,252, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 26,298 and the Nasdaq Composite was rising 1.07% at 10,830.
Energy stocks were the worst performing among the 11 major S&P sectors after Chevron Corp reported an $8.3 billion loss on asset writedowns and ExxonMobil Corp recorded a second consecutive quarterly loss.
The benchmark index is now about 3.4% shy of its February all-time high, but faltering macroeconomic data and rising Covid-19 cases in the United States were making investors cautious again. The Nasdaq Composite was up 32.42 points, or 0.31%, at 10,620.23.
Caterpillar Inc CAT.N fell 4.1% after the bellwether for economic activity offered little signs of improvement in equipment sales.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.40-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.94-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 14 new lows.