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Stocks were mostly a shade higher in early trade, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite leading the way to the upside and the S&P 500 index briefly trading above its record closing level form last month as investors remained wait-and-see mode ahead of another round of inflation data later in the week.

What are major indexes doing?
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.08% fell 48.84 points, or 0.1%, to 34,581.40.
  • The S&P 500 SPX, -0.02% was up 4.35 points, or 0.1%, at 4,230.87 after trading as high as 4,236.74, surpassing its record close of 4,232.60 set on May 7.
  • The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.34% advanced 84.76 points, or 0.6%, to trade at 13,966.48.

On Monday, the Dow fell 126.15 points, or 0.4%, to end at 34,630.24 after trading above its all-time closing high of 34,777.76 set on May 7. The S&P 500 fell 0.1%, but remains just 0.1% away from its record close, while the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.5%.and the small-cap Russell 2000 RUT, +0.65% rose 1.4%.

What’s driving the market?

Stocks have been stuck in a trading range for several weeks, with the Dow and S&P 500 index trading not far off all-time highs, as investors look for a fresh catalyst and await data on inflation pressures.

The release Thursday of the May consumer-price index is shaping up to be the main data event of the week. A hotter-than-expected read on the April CPI, which rose 4.2% year over year, temporarily rattled markets last month.

“In our view, the fact that underlying inflationary pressures are rising as well raises questions as to whether the spike in headline inflation is due to transitory factors, as the Fed initially supported,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group, in a note.

“Now, with several policy makers arguing that they need to start discussing policy normalization at the upcoming gatherings, further acceleration in consumer prices may increase speculation for the committee acting sooner than previously thought, and thereby result in a pullback in equities and other risk-linked assets,” the analyst said.

Treasury yields were slipping Tuesday with the fall in yields is seen as a positive for technology and other growth-related stocks.

U.S. stock futures extended declines in premarket Tuesday after an internet outage took down several major sites, but bounced off session lows after reports tied the outage to a glitch at cloud-computing services provider Fastly Inc. FSLY, +6.12%. Fastly said on its website that it had identified the issue and a “fix is being implemented,” shortly before 7 a.m. Eastern. Fastly shares were up more than 2% after dipping in premarket action.

A closely followed U.S. small-business index fell slightly in May, coming in 0.2 point lower at 99.6, to mark the first decline of the year, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The fall came as small-business owners said they are losing sales because they can’t find enough people to fill open jobs. And now rising inflation is adding to their worries.

April data released Tuesday morning showed the U.S. international trade deficit narrowed to $68.9 billion from a record $75 billion a month earlier. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal had looked for a consensus $69 billion gap.

Data on April job openings will be closely watched amid concerns over difficulties employers are reporting in filling positions. The data is due at 10 a.m., with economists looking for openings to rise to 8.2 million from 8.1 million in March.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Online personal styling service Stitch Fix Inc. SFIX, +13.10% said late Monday that it expects revenue to be better than analysts’ forecast in the fiscal year ending July 31. Shares rose more than 16%.
  • Marvell Technology Inc. MRVL, +4.12% shares were up 7.6% after the chip maker late Monday reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations and forecast record revenue months after the close of a major acquisition.
  • Shares of Southwest Airlines Co. LUV, +0.84% rose 0.4% after the air carrier provided May metrics and a June outlook that reflected improving leisure passenger traffic and fares.
  • Southwest also said it recently entered into an agreement with Boeing Co.  BA, +1.31% to increase its 2022 orders by 34 Boeing 737 MAX 7 planes, bringing the total to 234 firm orders. Boeing shares rose 0.4%.
  • Navistar International Corp. NAV, +0.07% said it turned a profit for the fiscal second quarter as it boosted production line rates in all its vehicle assembly plants, though the increase was slower than anticipated because of supply-chain constraints. Navistar shares were flat.
What are other markets doing?
  • The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.537% fell 4.1 basis points to 1.527%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.14%, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.1%.
  • Oil futures were lower, with the U.S. benchmark CL00, +0.26% down 0.3%. Gold futures GC00, -0.22% gave up early gains, falling 0.1% to $1,896.50 an ounce.
  • European equities were higher, with the pan-Continental Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +0.21% up 0.4% and London’s FTSE 100 UKX, +0.43% rising 0.6%.
  • In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.54% down 0.5%, while the Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.02% ended less than 0.1% lower in Hong Kong and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.19% fell 0.2%.