April 25th, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street holds steady, holding near record highs

By Elaine Kurtenbach And Matt Ott, The Associated Press on February 27, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are holding relatively steady on Wall Street following mixed profit reports from U.S. companies. The S&P 500 was up 0.1% early Tuesday, still near its record set last week. The Dow fell 106 points, or 0.3%, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.3%. Macy’s rose after reporting better results than feared. Macy’s also announced a sweeping reorganization. Earnings reporting season is winding down for the big companies in the S&P 500, and the hope is that a remarkably solid U.S. economy will help profits grow this year. Treasury yields were mixed in the bond market.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Wall Street was little changed early Tuesday as more corporate earnings trickle in ahead of new data on inflation arriving this week.

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.2% before the bell, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.1%.

Gains were moderate and traders appeared to be growing cautious after the New Year’s rally that has swept much of the world’s markets.

“All in all, investors are taking a well-deserved breather to start the week,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management said in a commentary. “This subdued tone suggests a moderation in investor sentiment following the recent tech-driven buying spree.”

Earnings reporting season for the big companies in the S&P 500 is in its tail end, but this week still offers updates from several big names. They include several that could give color on how well spending by U.S. households is holding up. Such spending has been one of the main reasons the U.S. economy has blasted through expectations for a possible recession.

Macy’s shares ticked down modestly after the department store chain said it would close 150 stores – 50 this year – after posting a fourth-quarter loss and declining sales. The New York company faces a proxy fight from Arkhouse Management after Macy’s last month rejected a $5.8 billion takeover offer from the hedge fund and Brigade Capital Management, an investment manager.

Hardware and home goods retailer Lowe’s inched up less than 1% early Tuesday after it posted sales and profit that beat Wall Street targets.

Best Buy, Papa John’s and TJX, the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, will all report this week. So will several big tech-related companies, including Salesforce.com and HP.

The S&P 500 is on track to close out its fourth straight winning month and is coming off its 15th winning week in the last 17. And the stock market may not have been cheap even when it bottomed out in October 2022.

This recent rally got going last October amid hopes that inflation is cooling enough for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates several times this year. Such cuts would relax the pressure on the economy and financial system, while goosing investment prices.

Expectations are still high for rate cuts to come eventually this year, but traders have been delaying their forecasts following some stronger-than-expected reports on the economy. That data in the meantime raises hopes that growth in profits for companies can strengthen, which helps stock prices too.

On the economic calendar, the U.S. government on Thursday will give the latest update on the measure of inflation that the Federal Reserve prefers to use. It’s usually a less impactful report, because data on inflation at the consumer and wholesale levels for the month have already been released.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX added 0.5% while the CAC 40 in Paris edged less than 0.1% higher. London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225, which has twice breached records in recent days, was flat at 39,239.52 in quiet trading. That was after the government reported that consumer prices rose 2.2% in January from the year before, less than the 2.6% rate in December, but above forecasts.

Higher inflation supports expectations that the Bank of Japan may soon make a shift in its longstanding ultra-lax monetary policy, which is underpinned by a minus 0.1% benchmark interest rate.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng reversed early losses, gaining 0.9% to 17,503.99 and the Shanghai Composite jumped 1.3% to 3,015.48.

South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.8% to 2,625.05, while India’s Sensex rose 0.4%. In Bangkok, the SET was down 0.5%.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 22 cents to $77.36 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, retreated 25 cents to $81.42 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 150.22 Japanese yen from 150.72 yen. The euro rose modestly to $1.0859 from $1.0854.

On Monday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.4% after closing last week at an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite dipped 0.1%.

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