U.S. stock indexes staged a modest rise early Wednesday, after more remarks by Federal Reserve officials calmed investor worries about building inflation pressure, allowing Treasury yields to slip further.
Wednesday also marks the 125th anniversary of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which made its debut May 26, 1896.
What are major indexes doing?
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.13% rose 60 points, or 0.2%, to 34,371.
- The S&P 500 SPX, +0.16% was up 5 points, or 0.1%, at 4,193.
- The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.48% gained 51 points, or 0.4%, to trade at 13,708.
On Tuesday, stocks gave up early gains to end slightly lower. The Dow fell 81.52 points, or 0.2%, to end a three-day winning streak. The S&P 500 fell 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite shaved off 4 points, or less than 0.1%, to end at 13,657.17.
What’s driving the market?
Stocks remain stuck in a holding pattern, but not far off all-time highs, with building inflation pressures the main concern for investors, particularly after data earlier this month showed that the April consumer-price index rose at a much hotter-than-expected 4.2% year-over-year pace.
Stocks may continue to struggle for direction ahead of the release Friday of the Federal Reserve’s favorite measure of inflation, the personal consumption expenditure index, analysts said.
While more Fed officials have acknowledged that a discussion about when to begin tapering may soon be in order, they have largely remained committed to extraordinary monetary policy measures, arguing that a pickup in inflation pressures is likely to prove transitory.
“With more officials maintaining a dovish stance, we stick to our guns that equities still have room to trend north for a while more, while the U.S. dollar may stay on the back foot,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note.
“That said, before getting more confident on that front, we would like to see whether committee members will keep the same stance after the release of the PCE data on Friday,” the analyst said.
Meanwhile, a group of Republican senators is expected to offer a roughly $1 trillion plan for infrastructure spending, up from their initial proposal of $568 billion as negotiations continue with President Joe Biden’s administration. The White House last week trimmed the size of its proposed package to $1.7 trillion from $2.3 trillion in a bid to win bipartisan support.
Also on Capitol Hill, chief executives from some of largest U.S. banks will testify before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, and the House Financial Services Committee Thursday. They are expected to be challenged on a drop in lending over the past year, efforts to fight systemic racism and to defend themselves against accusations of “woke capitalism,” according to statements made by top lawmakers from both parties.
Lawmakers will grill JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s JPM, +0.53% Jamie Dimon, Citigroup Inc.’s C, +0.33% Jane Fraser, Morgan Stanley’s MS, +0.33% James Gorman, Bank of America Corp.’s BAC, +0.14% Brian Moynihan, Wells Fargo & Co.’s WFC, +0.28% Charles Scharf, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s GS, +0.78% David Solomon.
In deal news, Amazon.com AMZN, +0.30% agreed to acquire privately owned MGM Holdings for about $8.45 billion, confirming months-long speculation and marking the latest in a steady stream of consolidation in the movie and television content business.
Which companies are in focus?
- Shares of Intuit Inc. INTU, +0.79% were up 0.6% in premarket trade, after the tax-software company’s quarterly results met recently altered guidance and its outlook topped Wall Street estimates.
- Nordstrom Inc. JWN, -8.39% shares fell 5.8% after the clothing-retail chain late Tuesday revealed a larger-than-expected quarterly loss.
- Zscaler Inc. ZS, +13.28% late Tuesday delivered quarterly results and higher full-year outlook that breezed past Wall Street expectations. Shares of the cybersecurity company were up more than 10%.
- Shares of Urban Outfitters Inc. URBN, +13.59% jumped more than 10% in premarket trade after reporting it had swung to a profit late Monday.
- Shares of Amazon were up 0.2% amid its MGM announcement.
How are other assets faring?
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y was down 0.3 basis points at around 1.56%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.
- The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.3%.
- Oil futures were trading lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery CLN21, -0.47% falling cents, or 0.03%, to settle at $66.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Gold futures GC00, rose $8, or 0.4%, to trade at $1,906 an ounce, trading above a key resistance price.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, was trading little changed Wednesday, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX was moving 0.1% lower.
- The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP climbed 0.3%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI gained 0.9% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK advanced 0.3%.