Stock market today: Wall Street drifts to a mixed close but still notches some records

Jun 12, 2024

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks drifted to a mixed close overall on Wall Street Tuesday, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite still managed to notch more record highs.

The subdued trading came ahead of a key inflation report and the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate policy decision on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 rose 14.53 points, or 0.3%, to 5,375.32, driven largely by gains in tech stocks, even though more stocks fell than rose within the index. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 151.02 points, or 0.9%, to 17,343.55. Both indexes set record highs for the second straight day.

Apple did the heavy lifting for the broader market. It surged 7.3% after highlighting its push into artificial intelligence technology.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged the market. It slipped 120.62 points, or 0.3%, to 38,747.42.

The key events for the market this week come on Wednesday, when the U.S. releases its latest update on inflation at the consumer level and the Federal Reserve announces its latest update on interest rates. The U.S. will also release its latest update on prices at the wholesale level on Thursday.

Wall Street expects the government’s consumer price index to remain unchanged at 3.4% in May. Inflation as measured by CPI is down sharply from its peak at 9.1% in 2022, but it has seemingly stalled around 3%. That has complicated the Fed’s goal of taming inflation back to its target rate of 2%.

The Fed has held its main interest rate at its highest level in more than two decades and Wall Street is currently hoping for one or two cuts to that rate this year. Virtually no one expects the Fed to move its main interest rate at its current meeting, which started Tuesday. Policymakers will be publishing their latest forecasts on Wednesday for where they see interest rates and the economy heading.

When Fed officials released their last projections in March, they indicated the typical member foresaw roughly three cuts to interest rates in 2024. That projection will almost certainly fall this time around.

Data on the economy have come in mixed recently, and traders are hoping for a slowdown that stops short of a recession and is just right in magnitude. A cooldown would put less upward pressure on inflation, which could encourage the Fed to cut rates. Lower interest rates could fuel more growth for the broader stock market. Major indexes have been rallying to records, though, despite worries about sticky inflation and high interest rates.

The economy has remained resilient with support from a strong jobs market and consumer spending. Consumers are becoming increasingly stressed, especially those with lower incomes, and retailers have been warning investors about the potential impact to earnings and revenue. The U.S. jobs market has been showing some signs of cooling, which could ease inflation but put more stress on consumers.

“With strong labor market readings, inflation data will be even more important in the months to come,” said Kristy Akullian, head of iShares Investment Strategy Americas.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, General Motors rose 1.3% after the automaker announced that its board approved a $6 billion stock buyback. Calavo Growers jumped 8.2% after the avocado grower’s latest quarterly report beat analysts’ forecasts.

Banks were among the biggest weights on the market. Fifth Third Bancorp fell 1% after cutting its forecast for revenue growth. JPMorgan fell 2.6% and Citigroup fell 3.7%.

Affirm Holdings climbed 11% on news that the buy now, pay later company will be integrated into Apple Pay.

Paramount Global, the media company that owns the Paramount movie studio, CBS as well as several cable networks, dropped 7.8% following reports that talks to merge the company with Skydance Media had fallen apart.

Treasury yields fell in the bond market. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.40% from 4.47% late Monday.

Stocks in Europe fell and stocks in Asia were mixed.

AP writers Zimo Zhong, Matt Ott and Alex Veiga contributed to this report.

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