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Stock market today: Wall Street ends largely higher after a final wave of buying

Stock market today: Wall Street ends largely higher after a final wave of buying

 


NEW YORK (AP) Stocks ended higher on Wall Street Wednesday after a day of listless trading, with big tech stocks once again acting as a heavyweight in the market.

The S&P 500 rose 6.29 points, or 0.1%, to 4,981.80. The benchmark index spent much of the day in losing territory before rallying just before markets closed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also posted a slight gain after losing ground for most of the day. It rose 48.44 points, or 0.1%, to 38,612.24.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 49.91 points, or 0.3%, to 15,580.87.

Profits remain Wall Street's main concern. After the markets closed, Nvidia announced profits and revenues well above Wall Street forecasts. The chipmaker has tripled in size over the past year thanks to renewed investor enthusiasm for artificial intelligence.

Palo Alto Networks was a big loser and a particularly heavyweight in the technology sector. The network security company fell 28.4% after giving future billing forecasts well below those sought by analysts. Its rival Fortinet fell 3.8%.

Amazon rose 0.9% following the announcement of its listing on the Dow Jones. Walgreens Boots Alliance, which leaves the Dow, fell 2.5%

Bond yields have gained ground. The 10-year Treasury yield rose from 4.28% to 4.33% Tuesday evening.

Technology stocks were behind much of the market's rally, which took it to record highs last week. The sector also has some of the strongest profit growth. Lopsided contributions from some of the industry's biggest companies, however, raised questions about whether the gains were exaggerated.

In February, we see some of that stabilizing as we try to get a better idea of ​​how the entire year is going to play out, said Rob Haworth, senior portfolio manager at US Bank Wealth Management.

Several other companies took significant action after releasing their financial results. Electronic measurement technology company Keysight Technologies fell 6.7% after its profit forecast came in below analysts' expectations. Garmin, which makes personal navigation devices, jumped 8.8% after beating profit forecasts.

Toll Brothers rose 3.9% after giving investors an encouraging financial update as it sees strong demand. This helped support gains across the homebuilding sector.

Energy companies gained ground as natural gas prices jumped 12.5%. Exxon Mobil rose 2%.

The Federal Reserve released minutes from its most recent meeting in January, showing most officials are wary of moving too quickly to cut their benchmark interest rates. The central bank left the rate unchanged for the fourth consecutive time at this meeting. Investors have all but given up hope that the central bank will cut rates at its March meeting and are hoping the first rate cut will come in June.

Investors should wait until next week for another key inflation update. That's when the government will release its monthly report on personal consumption and spending, the federal government's preferred measure of inflation. The central bank's goal was to bring inflation down to 2% and analysts expect the report to show it cooled to 2.3% in January. Inflation by this measure peaked at 7.1% in June 2022.

As long as the labor market holds up, the Fed can afford to slow the decline in interest rates, said Jamie Cox, managing partner at Harris Financial Group. Fighting inflation is much easier when the labor market cooperates.

Separate measures of consumer and wholesale prices in January show that inflation has not calmed as much as expected. This prompted investors to shift their rate cut expectations from March to June. A weak retail sales report added to disappointing inflation data and raised concerns that stubborn inflation is inflicting even more pain on consumers. A tightening of consumer spending could put more pressure on businesses in 2024.

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An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that stocks finished mostly lower and that the S&P 500 fell 6.29 points. The S&P 500 rose 6.29 points.

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