Stock market today: Wall Street drifts into moderate trading around last week’s records

A mostly quiet trading day Wednesday left Wall Street stock indexes near the all-time highs they set last week.

The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% after oscillating between slight gains and losses for most of the day. About 65% of stocks in the benchmark index fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.5%.

Several major stocks helped offset the broader S&P 500 decline. rose 3.9%, surpassing $2 trillion in market value for the first time. The rise in the e-commerce giant’s stock valuation comes just over a week after Nvidia hit $3 trillion and briefly became Wall Street’s most valuable company.

Cheerios maker General Mills fell 4.6% after reporting that revenue for its latest quarter fell more sharply than analysts expected. The company has faced falling sales volumes as consumers become more cautious and price-conscious amid stubborn inflation.

Markets are moving away from recent record highs, as the AP’s Seth Sutel reports.

Chipotle posted a 0.3% gain on its first day of trading after its 50-for-1 stock split. It was previously among the most expensive stocks in the S&P 500.

FedEx helped offset losses with a 15.5% gain. The parcel carrier published results for its last quarter which far exceeded forecasts. Rivien soared 23.2% after Volkswagen announced it would invest up to $5 billion in the struggling electric vehicle maker.

Several large technology companies have gained ground. Apple rose 2% and Microsoft 0.3%. Their high values ​​tend to strongly influence the direction of the market.

Overall, the S&P 500 rose 8.60 points to 5,477.90. The Dow Jones gained 15.64 points to 39,127.80, and the Nasdaq rose 87.50 points to 17,805.16.

This week, Wall Street is mainly focused on the latest inflation report released by the government on Friday. The personal consumption expenditures index, or PCE, is the The Federal Reserve preferred measure of inflation.

“The market is idling, like a race car waiting for the green light,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. “The light will come on Friday morning, when the PCE figures are released.”

Wall Street expects the index to show that the inflation rate fell to 2.6% in May, from 2.7% in April.

The Fed is trying to bring inflation back to its 2% target, but the rate remains unchanged. PCE has been hovering just below 3% for months. The best-known consumer price index has hovered around 3% throughout 2024, although it reached 9.1% by mid-2022.

The latest inflation updates could influence the central bank’s decision on when it will begin cutting interest rates, which remain at their highest level in more than 20 years.

“Noisy inflation data may be enough to cause policymakers to remain cautious in their actions, but the global disinflationary process is well established,” Solita Marcelli and other analysts said in a UBS report. “Easing price pressures and other economic considerations should encourage central banks to begin or continue cutting rates.”

In the bond market, Treasury yields were mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.32% from 4.25% late Tuesday. It has been down from a peak of 4.70% in late April, easing pressure on the stock market.

Investors are hoping the Federal Reserve will soon begin cutting interest rates. Wall Street is betting on a rate cut at the September central bank meeting.

The economy has remained relatively strong, despite inflation and high borrowing costs for consumers and businesses. However, economic growth is slowing and consumers seem more stressed and are redirecting their spending towards basic necessities. Wall Street is hoping the Fed can time its rate cuts to relieve pressure on the economy before it slows too much, but without missing its goal of curbing inflation.

“It’s too early for the market to be encouraged or disappointed by the results, so the near-term focus will be on economic indicators that would imply the Fed could cut interest rates as early as September,” Stovall said.

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