June 22nd, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street opens mixed after its latest winning week

By Zimo Zhong And Matt Ott, The Associated Press on May 20, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street is opening on a quiet note following its latest winning week. The S&P 500 was up 0.1% in early trading Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.2%. Momentum is calming after all three indexes set records last week. They scorched higher on revived hopes that the Federal Reserve will be able to cut interest rates this year because of a cooldown in inflation. More reports showing big U.S. companies are earning fatter profits than expected also boosted stock prices. Nvidia, which has rocketed higher amid a frenzy surrounding artificial-intelligence technology, reports its latest results Wednesday.

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

Wall Street pointed toward modest gains early Monday, keeping markets around record levels after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 40,000 for the first time ever last week.

Markets did appear to be shaken by news of the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials who died in a helicopter crash in the mountainous northwest reaches of Iran on Sunday.

Futures for the S&P 500 edged nearly 0.2% higher before the bell Monday, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.1%.

Investors this week will be taking in more retail earnings data as reporting season winds down. Lowe’s, Target and TJX Cos. all report later this week. So will chipmaker Nvidia, whose shares are up 87% this year on soaring demand for its semiconductors, which are used to power artificial intelligence applications.

Red Lobster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection days after shuttering dozens of restaurants. Earlier this year, Red Lobster co-owner Thai Union Group, one of the world’s largest seafood suppliers, announced its intention to exit its minority investment in the dining chain.

The seafood restaurant has been struggling with rising lease and labor costs in recent years and promotions like its all-you-can-eat shrimp deal that backfired.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve releases minutes from its most recent meeting, when it left its main lending rate alone for the sixth straight time.

A report last week rekindled hopes that inflation is finally heading back in the right direction after a discouraging start to the year. That in turn revived hopes for the Federal Reserve to cut its main interest rate at least once this year.

The federal funds rate is sitting at its highest level in more than two decades, and a cut would goose investment prices and remove some of the downward pressure on the economy.

The hope is that the Fed can pull off the balancing act of slowing the economy enough through high interest rates to stamp out high inflation but not so much that it causes a bad recession.

In Europe at midday, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.3%, Germany’s DAX added 0.4%, as did the CAC 40 in Paris.

China’s market extended last week’s gains after the central bank announced new support for the property industry, including cutting required down payments for housing loans, cutting mortgage interest rates for first and second home purchases and removing a mortgage rate floor.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.3% to 19,608.30, with its property index up 0.3%. Country Garden Holdings, one of many financially troubled developers, saw its U.S.-listed shares surge 18.5% on Friday after the policy was announced.

The Shanghai Composite index advanced 0.5% to 3,171.15.

On Monday, China’s central bank left the one- and five-year loan prime rate unchanged at 3.45% and 3.95%, in line with expectations. The one-year LPR serves as the benchmark for most new and outstanding loans in China, while the five-year rate affects the pricing of property mortgages.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.7% to 39,069.68. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,863.70. The Kospi in Korea rose 0.6% to 2,742.14.

Elsewhere, Taiwan’s Taiex edged 0.1% higher after Lai Ching-te was inaugurated as Taiwan’s new president. Lai is expected to uphold the island’s de facto independence policy from China and seek to bolster its defenses against Beijing, which claims the island as Chinese territory.

In Bangkok, the SET was up 0.1%.

In other trading Monday, benchmark U.S. crude oil was down 27 cents at $79.31 per barrel. U.S. crude hasn’t been above $80 per barrel since falling below that level on May 1.

Brent crude, the international standard, lost 23 cents to $83.75 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 155.73 Japanese yen from 155.55 yen. The euro rose to $1.0865 from $1.0871.

On Friday, the Dow rose 0.3% to 40,003.59 while the S&P 500 added 0.1%, closing out a fourth straight week of gains. The Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1% to 16,685.97.

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