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Stock market today: Wall Street ends higher, propelling the Nasdaq to a record level

Stock market today: Wall Street ends higher, propelling the Nasdaq to a record level


NEW YORK (AP) Stocks rose on Wall Street Tuesday, pushing the Nasdaq Composite Index to another record high and leaving the S&P 500 just below its own all-time high.

The late gains capped a rather shaky trading day as investors looked at a mixed inflation report and awaited an even bigger inflation update on Wednesday. Stocks generally gained ground in May after a gloomy April.

The S&P 500 index rose 25.26 points, or 0.5%, to 5,246.68. It is approximately 0.1% below its record set at the end of March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 126.60 points, or 0.3%, to 39,558.11.

The Nasdaq Composite Index, heavily influenced by technology stocks, jumped 122.94 points, or 0.8%, to 16,511.18, setting a record high. The technology sector has been a driving force behind much of the broader markets' gains this year.

Several action memes, including GameStop and AMC Entertainment, have advanced in a revival of the social media frenzy of three years ago. GameStop jumped 60.1% and AMC jumped 32%. Both stocks gave back much of their gains from earlier in the day.

An inflation update showed that prices remain stubbornly high at the wholesale level, before many price changes are passed on to consumers. The latest producer price index showed inflation rose sharply in April. The report also included a downward revision for the March reading. The report is the first of two big inflation updates this week that are being closely watched by Wall Street.

Inflationary pressures in the U.S. economy remain significant and the momentum built over the past several years continues, said Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank. At the margin, the Fed will view the April PPI report as another reason to slow the decline in interest rates.

Bond yields have fallen slightly. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 4.45% from 4.49% Monday evening. The yield on the two-year Treasury note, which more closely tracks expectations for the Federal Reserve's actions, fell to 4.82% from 4.86%.

The biggest test for markets will come on Wednesday, when the United States releases its monthly update on consumer prices, or the inflation faced by households. Economists expect the consumer price index to fall to 3.4% in April on an annual basis. The inflation rate has risen in 2024, raising concerns that the Fed will struggle to control inflation to meet the central bank's 2% target.

Investors have lowered their expectations for the speed and frequency of interest rate cuts this year as inflation remains higher than expected. Traders are betting on one or two rate cuts this year, according to CME Group data.

Wall Street still hopes the Fed can achieve its soft landing, where high interest rates help curb inflation without slowing the economy into a recession. The economy remains strong, but consumers could show signs of fatigue under the weight of stubborn inflation. Economists expect the retail sales report released Wednesday to show that consumer spending slowed in April, just as it has in recent months.

The latest round of earnings reports and company forecasts from retailers also show that consumers are struggling. Low-income households are particularly strained. Retail giant Walmart will release its latest financial results on Thursday, giving investors better insight into consumer spending habits.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, during a roundtable in Amsterdam on Tuesday, reiterated that the central bank would probably not increase its key interest rate to respond to stubborn inflation. He also said his confidence in slowing inflation is not as high as it was because price increases were persistent during the first three months of this year.

Earnings were a bright spot for markets, helping to support gains in major indexes in May after a difficult April. S&P 500 companies are mostly done with their latest results, which show an overall profit gain of 5.3%.

Stocks were mostly higher in Europe and mixed in Asia. Chinese markets fell following US plans to increase prices on imports from China.




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