US stocks climb after latest inflation data to end February with strong gains

Feb 29, 2024
  • US stocks traded higher on Thursday following the latest PCE data.
  • The Dow hit four consecutive monthly gains, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at records. 
  • The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge was in line with expectations. 

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US stocks climbed on Thursday, cementing a winning month for investors and continuing this year’s strong rally. 

Major averages ended the day higher, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched a four-month winning streak for the first time since May 2021, while the S&P 500 climbed more than 4.5% during the month, bringing its year-to-date gain to about 6.8%.

Investors took in fresh inflation data before markets opened, with the US Department of Commerce reporting the personal consumption expenditures price index rose 0.3% month-over-month, and 2.4% year-over-year, matching consensus estimates.

Core PCE also fell in line with expectations, rising 0.4% month-over-month and 2.8% compared to a year ago. Economists at Macquarie wrote in a note that the latest data suggest gradual disinflation remains likely.

“There is no change to our FOMC baseline call with this release,” the economists wrote in a Thursday note.”We continue to expect the first rate cut in July, a total of 50 bps of cuts in 2024, and a further 50 bps in 2025.”

Bitcoin on Thursday continued its rise back toward all-time highs. The coin traded as much as 6% higher during the day before paring gains. It spiked again late in the day after Bloomberg reported that Wells Fargo and Bank of America would begin offering clients access to the approved spot ETFs. Bitcoin traded at $62,280 late Thursday afternoon. 

In the housing market, new data on pending home sales showed an unexpected drop in January as mortgage rates continue to hover near 7%.

Still, the US housing market is starting to show some signs of moderate easing as new listings of homes for sale climbed 12.9% compared to a year ago, good for the biggest jump in almost three years, per Redfin. 

Here’s where US indexes stood as the market closed at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday: 

Here’s what else is going on: 

In commodities, bonds, and crypto: 

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