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Stock market today: Wall Street gains as it heads for the best week since March | News

Stock market today: Wall Street gains as it heads for the best week since March |  News


NEW YORK (AP) Wall Street advanced on Friday as it heads for its best week since March, despite a long list of worries hanging over it.

The S&P 500 was up 0.3% in early trading and on track for a 2.1% gain for the week. This would break a long sluggish period where it did not rise or fall by 1% for six consecutive weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15 points, or less than 0.1%, to 33,551 as of 9:40 a.m. EST, while the Nasdaq composite was 0.3% higher.

Growing hopes that the US government can avoid a catastrophic default on its debt was one of the main drivers of the market this week. The White House said Friday morning in Japan that negotiators had told President Joe Biden, who was attending a Group of Seven summit there, that they were make progress on an agreement to increase the federal government’s credit limit.

Without the ability to borrow more, the US government could default on its debt for the first time and trigger widespread suffering across the economy. The White House and House Republicans set a deadline of June 1, when the government could run out of money to pay its bills.

Better than feared earnings reports from major U.S. companies have also helped support stocks in recent weeks, and Deere rose 4% after posting more revenue and profit last quarter than analysts expected. Unlike many Wall Street companies, Deere is seeing earnings and revenue rise from levels a year ago.

Ross Stores also reported an increase in sales and revenue for the last quarter that exceeded Wall Street expectations. But its stock fell 3.5% after giving an expected earnings range for this full year that was below some analysts’ projections.

Also on the losing side, Foot Locker fell 24.2%. He lowered his financial forecast for the year because he needs to lower prices to entice buyers to buy in what he calls a tough economic environment.

Retailers came under intense scrutiny this week, which also saw Home Depot, Target and Walmart report mixed results. That’s because resilient US household spending has been one of the main pillars preventing the economy from falling into recession.

Manufacturing and other parts of the economy have weakened under the weight of much higher interest rates intended to lower inflation. And the fear is that a drop in household spending could cement a recession.

The pressure is higher after the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate to the highest level since 2007. That has helped inflation subside since hitting a peak last summer. But it does this by slowing down the entire economy in one brutal action and hurt stock prices and other investments.

The hope on Wall Street is that the Fed can take a break at its next meeting in June, which would be the first meeting in more than a year where it hasn’t raised rates. But Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan on Thursday suggested another hike could be on the way unless more data arrives to suggest a further cooling in inflation, which remains well above the Fed’s target.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is due to speak later in the morning at an event with predecessor Ben Bernanke.

Treasury yields rose as traders became increasingly divided on whether the Fed will raise rates again or take a break in June. They are now betting on a roughly 40% chance for a move up from less than 16% a week ago, according to data from CME Group.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 3.69% from 3.65% on Thursday evening. It helps set the rates for mortgages and other large loans.

The two-year Treasury yield, which moves more in line with Fed action expectations, fell to 4.29% from 4.26%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to its highest close in about 33 years. Japan’s consumer price index data for April showed a 3.4% rise from a year earlier, indicating that inflationary pressures were easing.

Chinese stocks suffered. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.4% and the Shanghai Index fell 0.4%. The indices were slightly higher across Europe.

AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.




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