June 19th, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street holds steady near record levels

By Yuri Kageyama And Matt Ott, The Associated Press on May 21, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks are holding relatively steady near their record levels as Wall Street appears to be headed for another quiet day. The S&P 500 was down 0.1% early Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat, and the Nasdaq composite was off 0.3%. Palo Alto Networks joined the long list of companies reporting better profits than analysts expected, but its stock fell after giving a forecast for upcoming revenue that failed to please investors. Macy’s jumped after reporting more resilient results than analysts feared. Treasury yields fell in the bond market. Stock indexes fell across much of Europe and Asia.

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

Stocks on Wall Street were mixed in quiet premarket trading Tuesday as more retailers report solid results as they bring this quarter’s earnings season to a close.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 leaned toward modest gains of less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq fell less than 0.1% before the bell, one day after hitting another record high.

Macy’s jumped 3.4% early Tuesday after it easily beat Wall Street’s profit projections. The New York retailer, which has been under pressure by investors to accelerate growth, also topped first-quarter sales targets and raised its outlook.

Hardware store chain Lowe’s rose a modest 2.3% after it beat analysts’ sales and profit targets.

This week has few top-tier economic reports, like last week’s headliner that showed inflation may finally be heading back in the right direction following a discouraging start to the year. But some potentially market-moving reports on corporate profits are on the calendar.

Atop them all is Nvidia, whose rocket ride amid a frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology has been a major reason for the S&P 500’s gains over the last year. It will report its latest quarterly results on Wednesday, and expectations are high.

Target also reports on Wednesday with Ross Stores following Thursday. They could offer more details on how well spending by U.S. households is holding up. Pressure has been rising on them amid still-high inflation, even if it’s not as bad as before, and cracks seem to be most visible among the lowest-income customers.

Hopes are growing that the Federal Reserve will be able to cut interest rates this year if inflation continues to cool. A cut to interest rates is generally a boon for equities markets.

One sector under particular pressure from high interest rates is the housing market. On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors reports on April home sales, which fell in March as home shoppers contend with elevated mortgage rates and rising prices.

In Europe at midday, France’s CAC 40 lost 1%, while Germany’s DAX declined 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4%.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.3% to 38,946.93. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.2% to 7,851.70. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.7% to 2,724.18. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dove 2.1% to 19,220.62, while the Shanghai Composite shed 0.4% to 3,157.97.

In Asia, investors are focused on signs about the health of Chinese economy. S&P Global Market Intelligence raised this year’s growth forecast to 4.8% from 4.7% in April, but stressed it was not overly optimistic.

“The overall outlook of a tepid economic recovery remains unchanged, with the expansion supported by enhanced policy stimulus, strengthening external demand and gradually improving private-sector confidence,” it said in a report.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.26 to $78.04 a barrel. Brent crude the international standard declined the same $1.26 to $82.45 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar inched up to 156.30 Japanese yen from 156.27 yen. The euro cost $1.0865, up from $1.0861.

The Nasdaq climbed 0.7% Monday. The S&P 500 edged up by 0.1% to finish just short of its all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.5% in its first trading day after closing above the 40,000 level for the first time.

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