April 23rd, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street notches another record ahead of Fed news

By Stan Choe, The Associated Press on March 19, 2024.

FILE - A bicyclist passes the New York Stock Exchange on March 5, 2024, in New York. Stocks are rising Monday, March 18, 2024 ahead of a busy week for central banks around the world that could dictate where interest rates go.The S&P 500 was Tk% higher in early trading, coming off its first back-to-back weekly loss since October. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, file)

NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street notched another record high as traders wait to hear what the Federal Reserve will do with interest rates. The S&P 500 shook off an early loss and closed 0.6% higher Tuesday, beating the all-time high it set last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.4%, both closing slightly below their own recent highs. Treasury yields slipped in the bond market ahead of the Fed’s announcement Wednesday about where it sees rates ending the year. In a historic move, Japan’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate back to at least zero.

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

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks are rising Tuesday as Wall Street waits to hear what the Federal Reserve will do with interest rates.

The S&P 500 was 0.4% higher in late trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 237 points, or 0.6%, with less than an hour remaining in trading, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.2% higher.

All three indexes erased losses from earlier in the day.

International Paper jumped 11.1% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it named Andrew Silvernail, an executive at investment company KKR, as its new CEO.

Shares of Unilever that trade in the United States rose 2.7% after it said it was spinning off Ben & Jerry’s and its ice cream business, while cutting 7,500 jobs.

Nvidia, which has grown into one of the market’s most influential stocks, swung through the day. Nvidia went from an early drop of nearly 4% to a gain of 0.6% after unveiling new products at its developers’ conference. Analysts called them powerful and said they would keep Nvidia ahead of competitors. Its stock has already more than tripled from the prior year.

On the losing end of Wall Street was Super Micro Computer, whose stock had earlier zoomed from less than $100 to more than $1,000 in a year. The seller of server and storage systems used in AI and other computing, sank 10.7% after it said it’s looking to sell 2 million shares of its stock.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, the focus was on the Federal Reserve.

The Fed is beginning its latest meeting on interest rates, and it will announce its decision on Wednesday. The widespread expectation is for it to leave its main interest rate alone at a two-decade high. The hope is that it will indicate it still expects to cut rates three times later this year, as it hinted a few months ago.

U.S. stock indexes have set records recently partly on hopes for such cuts, which would relieve pressure on the economy and financial system. But recent reports on inflation have consistently been coming in worse than expected. That could force the Fed to say it will deliver fewer rate cuts this year, and traders have already given up earlier expectations that the year’s first cut would arrive Wednesday.

Strategists at Bank of America expect Fed officials to stick with forecasts showing the median member still expects three cuts in 2024. But it’s a close call, and “risks skew to fewer cuts signaled,” according to the strategists led by Mark Cabana.

Treasury yields eased in the bond market ahead of the announcement. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.29% from 4.33% late Monday.

High yields and interest rates can hurt prices for stocks broadly, while also sucking dollars and enthusiasm out of excited parts of the market.

Bitcoin’s price has been generally sliding since hitting a peak above $73,000 last week. It’s notorious for taking investors through severe swings in price. It fell further Tuesday and dropped below $64,900.

In stock markets abroad, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.7% after the Bank of Japan hiked its benchmark interest rate for the first time in 17 years. In a historic move, it moved the rate back to a range of zero to 0.1% and made other changes, ending a long experiment of rates below zero meant to boost the economy and inflation.

The era-defining move was widely expected, and it still keeps interest-rate policies easy, analysts said.

Stocks fell 1.2% in Hong Kong and 0.7% in Shanghai after Troubled property developer China Evergrande Group said Beijing’s market watchdog fined it 4.2 billion yuan ($333.4 million) for allegedly falsifying its revenue, among other violations.

Stocks were mixed elsewhere in Asia and Europe.

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AP Business Writers Matt Ott and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

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