July 17th, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street barely budges ahead of inflation report

By Elaine Kurtenbach And Matt Ott, The Associated Press on June 27, 2024.

The Fearless Girl statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 in New York. Shares have advanced in Europe and Asia after a rebound for Nvidia offset weakness on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are barely budging in early trading on Wall Street as markets wait for a key report on inflation. The S&P 500 was up about 0.1% in the early going Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.3%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 35 points, or 0.1%. Walgreens Boots Alliance sank more than 22% after reporting results that fell shy of forecasts and cutting its outlook. The company said it could close hundreds more stores in the next three years. Treasury yields fell in the bond market. The government releases a closely watched report on inflation on Friday.

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

Wall Street pointed toward losses early Thursday ahead of U.S. inflation data being released this week, which might illuminate the way ahead for interest rates.

The futures for the S&P 500 and for the Dow Jones Industrial Average both fell 0.2% before markets opened.

Markets’ main focus this week is on a U.S. government inflation report due Friday. The personal consumption expenditures index, or PCE, is the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation, and analysts said investors were in a wait-and-see posture after recent mixed data.

The latest updates on inflation could influence the central bank’s decision on when to begin cutting interest rates, which remain at their highest level in more than 20 years and which are having an impact worldwide.

Investors are hoping that the Federal Reserve will soon begin cutting interest rates but its effort to tame inflation back to its 2% target has been arduous. Wall Street is betting on a rate cut at the central bank’s September meeting.

The economy has remained relatively strong, despite inflation and high borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, but is slowing. Wall Street is hoping that Fed can time its rate cuts so that it relieves pressure on the economy before it slows too much, but doesn’t also fall short of its goal of cooling inflation.

In markets, Boeing is down slightly after it was sanctioned by U.S. investigators for sharing information about a federal investigation of a door plug blowout that left a gaping hole in a Boeing 737 Max 9.

Levi Strauss shares slid 15.4% ahead of the opening bell Thursday after the jeans maker’s second-quarter sales came up short of analyst targets.

Walgreen’s tumbled 15.7% after it slashed the high end of its profit forecast citing “persistent pressures on the U.S. consumer.”

Chipmaker Micron fell 5.5% after its latest forecast left investors disappointed.

At midday in Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.5% and the FTSE 100 in London lost 0.3%. Germany’s DAX was the only outlier, edging up 0.2%.

In Asian trading, another set of measures to boost the Chinese property market failed to lift market sentiment. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.1% to 17,716.47, while the Shanghai composite index was down 0.9% at 2,945.85.

Beijing became the latest city to cut minimum down-payment ratios and mortgage interest rates, beginning Thursday, to help the property sector.

Other Chinese cities have taken similar measures in line with national policies aimed at enticing buyers back into a market that has languished since the government cracked down on excessive borrowing by developers. That caused dozens of such companies to default on their debts and the downturn has dragged on the entire economy, the world’s second largest.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 0.8% to 39,341.54 amid concern over further weakness in the Japanese yen.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 160.53 yen early Thursday, having punched through the 160 level a day earlier to its lowest level since late 1986. Japanese officials have warned they may intervene in the market to counter the trend, which has both positive and negative effects on the economy.

Elsewhere in Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3% to 7,759.60. Taiwan’s Taiex lost 0.4% and Bangkok’s SET sank 0.5%. Shares rose in Mumbai, Jakarta and Singapore.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil picked up 34 cents to $81.24 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, advanced 32 cents to $84.79 per barrel.

The euro rose to $1.0699 from $1.0681.

On Wednesday, a mostly subdued day of trading left benchmarks on Wall Street close to all-time highs they set last week. The S&P 500 index rose 0.2%, though about 65% of the stocks in the benchmark index fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished less than 0.1% higher, while the Nasdaq composite rose 0.5%.

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