May 28th, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street is off to a mixed start

By Zimo Zhong And Matt Ott, The Associated Press on May 9, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are drifting again on Wall Street. The S&P 500 was little changed early Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.1%. A report showing a pickup in layoffs helped to keep the market steady. Investors hope the economy can stay solid enough to avoid a bad recession, but not so strong that it puts upward pressure on inflation. Robinhood Markets jumped after breezing past analysts’ forecasts. Beyond Meat, the maker of plant-based meat substitutes, fell 13% after it posted a much wider loss than analysts expected as demand continued to crater.

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

Wall Street’s lull threatened to stretch into a second day Thursday as more corporate earnings are released ahead of the government’s weekly layoffs data.

Futures for the S&P 500 ticked down 0.1% and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell less than 0.2%.

Airbnb tumbled 9.6% in premarket Thursday after the online rental gave a cautious second-quarter forecast despite easily beating Wall Street’s first quarter targets.

Beyond Meat, the maker of plant-based meat substitutes, fell 12.9% after it posted a much wider loss than analysts expected as demand continued to crater.

Stock trading and personal finance app Robinhood jumped 5% after it tripled per-share profit expectations on strong subscriber growth.

Companies have been broadly reporting stronger profits for the first three months of 2024 than analysts expected. That, and newly-revived hopes for cuts to interest rates by the Federal Reserve, have helped the U.S. stock market to recover from its rough April.

Treasury yields have largely been easing since Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the central bank remains closer to cutting its main interest rate than hiking it, despite a string of stubbornly high readings on inflation this year. A cooler-than-expected jobs report on Friday, meanwhile, suggested the U.S. economy could pull off the balancing act of staying solid enough to avoid a bad recession without being so strong that it keeps inflation too high.

Later Thursday, the government issues its weekly tally of U.S. layoffs, which have remained historically low in the face of high interest rates and still-elevated inflation. On Friday, economists will pore over the latest consumer sentiment survey from the University of Michigan to gauge how Americans feel about their finances.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 reversed course to a 0.4% gain at midday after the Bank of England maintained its key interest rate at a 16-year high of 5.25% but hinted that a rate reduction could come soon with inflation forecast to fall below its target.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.5% and the CAC 40 in Paris inched up 0.1%.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was down 0.3% at 38,073.98.

Automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s shares dropped 4.9% after the company forecasted a 7% lower net profit in the fiscal year that will end in March 2025.

Toyota Motor slipped 0.4% after it reported Wednesday that it doubled its net profit in the fiscal year that ended in March.

The U.S. dollar rose to 155.86 Japanese yen from 155.52 yen, as reports in Tokyo speculated on the likelihood of further intervention by the Finance Ministry to curb the yen’s slide.

“We’re always prepared to do so if necessary. We might do it today. We might do it tomorrow,” Masato Kanda, the Finance Vice Minister for International Affairs.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.1% to 18,511.26 and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.8% to 3,154.32.

China reported that its exports rose 1.5% in April from a year earlier, while imports jumped 8.4%. The renewed growth suggests a stronger recovery in demand than earlier data had suggested.

In South Korea, the Kospi lost 1.2% to 2,712.14. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.1% to 7,721.60.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 59 cents to $79.58 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, the international standard, was up 58 cents to $84.16 per barrel.

The euro dropped to $1.0731 from $1.0745.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 finished virtually unchanged after flipping between modest gains and losses through the day. It edged down by 0.03 to 5,187.67, coming off a very slight gain on Tuesday, which followed a big three-day winning streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% to 39,056.39, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% to 16,302.76.

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