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Stock Market Today: S&P 500 Flirts With Record High On Earnings Strength; Tesla Q3 in Focus

Simmering inflation concerns are holding back bulls Wednesday amid a solid earnings season that has the S&P 500 within touching distance of its early September peak.

U.S. stocks traded higher Wednesday, putting the S&P 500 within touching distance of its September closing high, as solid corporate earnings clash with persistent inflation concerns and a jump in Treasury bond yields.

Surging energy prices, supply chain disruptions and labor shortages are adding cost and margin pressures to a host of companies this earnings season, with consumer brands giants Procter & Gamble  (PG) - Get Procter & Gamble Company Report and Nestle planning price increases that will likely keep inflation ticking higher over the coming months.

Bank of America's closely-tracked survey of fund managers, in fact, noted this month that Inflation remains the market's key 'tail risk', followed by weakness in China and a renewed surge in COVID infections over the winter.

Still, with collective S&P 500 profits set to rise 32% from last year to $421.4 billion -- and big name tech groups such as Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, Facebook  (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report and Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report yet to report -- stocks have been able, for the moment at least, to shrug-off inflation concerns and the likely reaction to them by the Federal Reserve.

Wednesday hasn't bucked that trend, either, even with Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report and IBM  (IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report reporting after the closing bell and 10-year Treasury note yields rising to 1.646%. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was marked 170 points higher in mid-day trading, while the S&P 500, meanwhile, added 18 points to last night's close, putting it within around 9 points of its all-time high.

In terms of individual stocks, Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Novavax, Inc. Report shares were the most active  in early trading, plunging more than 11.4% amid reports that it's facing delays in the production of its coronavirus vaccine candidate

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Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report shares were also active, falling 1.7% after the streaming entertainment service blasted Wall Street forecasts for its third quarter earnings and and subscriber growth thanks in part to hit shows such as Squid Game and Bridgerton.

On the upside, Ford Motor Co  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report jumped 3.75% on the back of an upgrade and price target boost from Credit Suisse ahead of next week's third quarter earnings report.

Pinterest  (PINS) - Get Pinterest, Inc. Class A Report shares surged higher, before being halted from taking on the Nasdaq, following a report that suggested the social media site could be a takeover target of online payments group PayPal  (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc Report.

Tesla shares edged lower 0.22% higher, as well, ahead of the group's third quarter earnings after the close of trading, with investors focused on the clean-energy carmaker's plans to defy both a slowdown in China and the ongoing shortage in semiconductors over the final three months of the year.

Away from equities, oil prices retreated from near seven-years highs amid reports that China will move to tame record high coal prices -- a significant trigger to the recent energy price surge -- and ahead of today's update on domestic stockpiles and export data from the Energy Department. 

WTI futures for December delivery were marked 89 cents lower on the session at $81.55 each while Brent contracts for the same month, the global pricing benchmark, fell 86 cents to $84.23 per barrel. 

In other markets, Bitcoin continued their ascent, passing $60,000,00 for the first time since the spring, as the first bitcoin futures-based U.S. exchange traded fund hauled in more than $570 million of assets in its first day – a sign that investors remain confident in the viability of the world’s biggest digital currency.

In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 edged 0.08% higher by mid-day trading in Frankfurt amid a renewed focus on inflation following the shock resignation of Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, who will stand down later this year after a decade at the helm of Germany's powerful central bank.