April 23rd, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street pushes higher to another record high

By Stan Choe, The Associated Press on March 27, 2024.

FILE - Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Friday, June 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks broke out of a three-day lull and closed at another record high. The S&P 500 added 0.9% Wednesday, beating the all-time high it set last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.2%, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.5%. The Dow and Nasdaq closed just short of their own records. Merck helped push the market higher after winning federal approval for its treatment for a rare disease affecting blood vessels. Trump Media & Technology Group continued its wild ride and shot higher again in its second day of trading, even as its Truth Social platform loses money. Treasury yields fell.

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

NEW YORK (AP) – Most U.S. stocks are drifting higher Wednesday in another listless day on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 was up 0.3% in late trading. Four of of every five stocks in the index were rising, and it’s on track for its first gain since setting an all-time high last week on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 281 points, or 0.7%, as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was virtually flat.

Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group are continuing their wild ride, jumping another 11.3%. The company behind the money-losing Truth Social platform has zoomed well beyond what critics say is rational, as fans of former president Donald Trump keep pushing it higher.

Merck climbed 4.9% after federal regulators approved its treatment for adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare disease where blood vessels in the lungs thicken and narrow.

Cintas, a provider of work uniforms and office supplies, was another big force pushing the S&P 500 upward. It jumped 7.3% after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

Robinhood Markets climbed 3.2% after unveiling its first credit card, which is reserved for its subscription-paying Gold members, along with other new products.

On the losing end of Wall Street was Nvidia, which is on track for a second straight loss after screaming 91% higher for the year so far. It sank 3.5%, as some investors may be locking in profits before closing their books for the end of the year’s first quarter. Nvidia has been one of the biggest winners of Wall Street’s frenzy around artificial intelligence.

GameStop also tumbled after delivering a profit for the latest quarter and a drop in revenue from the prior year. It fell 15%. It’s the original meme stock, predating Trump Media by years, where its price has often moved more on the sentiment of smaller-pocketed investors than on fundamentals like its profit and revenue.

In the bond market, Treasury yields slipped on a day with few economic reports to shake things up.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.19% from 4.23% late Tuesday.

The week’s highlight for the bond market may be arriving Friday, when the U.S. government releases the latest monthly update on spending by U.S. consumers. It will include the measure of inflation that the Federal Reserve prefers to use as it sets interest rates.

But both the U.S. bond and stock markets will be closed that day for Good Friday. That could cause some anticipatory trades to bunch up on Thursday. It will also be the last day of the month and of the first quarter, which could further roil things.

The S&P 500 is on track for a fifth straight winning month and has been roaring higher since late October. The U.S. economy has remained remarkably resilient despite high interest rates meant to get inflation under control. Plus, the Federal Reserve looks set to start lowering interest rates this year because inflation has cooled from its peak.

But critics say a broader range of companies will need to deliver strong profit growth to justify their big moves in price. Progress on bringing inflation down has also become bumpier recently, with reports this year coming in hotter than expected.

Still, the broad expectation among traders is for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting its main interest rate in June.

Stocks generally tend to do the best when more than half the world’s central banks are easing interest rates, according to Ned Davis Research. The world is not there yet, but several central banks have already begun cutting recently like Switzerland’s, and it could happen later this year.

In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed across Europe and Asia.

Chinese stocks were some of the worst performers, even as China’s central bank governor told a high-level business conference in Beijing that the ailing property industry was showing signs of recovery and that the impact from defaults of dozens of developers was limited. Stocks tumbled 1.4% in Hong Kong and 1.3% in Shanghai.

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AP Business Writers Matt Ott and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

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