UNITED STATES NEWS

Stock market today: Wall Street opens higher after retail, inflation data

Sep 13, 2023, 11:19 PM | Updated: Sep 14, 2023, 6:38 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are ticking higher on Wall Street with hopes that central banks around the world are close to done with their hikes to interest rates. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% in early trading Thursday. The Dow rose 148 points and the Nasdaq composite added 0.4%. Some of the strongest action was in the bond market, where Treasury yields swung up and then down as traders sifted through a mixed set of U.S. reports showing the economy is still humming, though inflation may be too. Shares of chip designer Arm Holdings are set to begin trading later in the day.

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

Wall Street is pointing higher Thursday following a modest increase in inflation across the U.S. in August that eased worries over the likelihood of another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

Futures for the S&P 500 edged 0.4% higher before the bell Thursday and futures for the Dow Jones industrials were up 0.3%.

While the inflation data was a touch hotter than estimated, economists and investors don’t expect it to change the Fed’s anticipated track much. The forecast is still for the U.S. central bank to keep interest rates steady at its meeting next week.

The inflation report showed that U.S. consumers paid prices last month that were 3.7% higher than a year earlier, up from July’s inflation rate of 3.2% and slightly more than the forecasts for a 3.6% increase.

That’s discouraging for shoppers paying higher prices, but much of the acceleration was because of higher fuel costs. Underlying inflation trends indicated a continued moderation in price increases, economists said. Inflation has been generally cooling since peaking above 9% last year.

The inflation report was important because it will help steer what the Federal Reserve does next on interest rates. The Fed has already hiked its main rate to the highest level in more than two decades, which hurts prices for stocks and other investments, and the hope on Wall Street is that inflation has cooled enough for it to be done.

Even though economists are willing to ignore fuel costs when looking at inflation to find the underlying trends, households and companies don’t get the same luxury.

Stocks of airlines were some of the biggest losers in the S&P 500 on Wednesday after a couple carriers warned of the hit to profits they’re taking because of higher costs.

Hewlett Packard slid before the bell Thursday after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed in an SEC filing that it sold 5.5 million shares of the personal computer and printer company. According to the filing, Berkshire still owns more than 115 million shares in HP, whose shares slid about 2.5% before the bell.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX was down 0.1% while the CAC 40 in Paris and London’s FTSE 100 were mostly unchanged.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 surged 1.4% to 33,168.10. In Seoul, the Kospi jumped 1.5%, to 2,572.89.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rebounded from earlier losses to pick up 0.2%, closing at 18,047.92. However, major Chinese real estate developer Country Garden’s Hong Kong-traded shares sank 4.6% ahead of a deadline for a bond repayment.

The Shanghai Composite index added 0.1% to 3,114.38, while in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.6% to 7,186.50.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil rose again, adding $1.20 to reach $89.172 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That’s the highest level since November of last year.

Brent crude, the pricing standard for international trading, was up $1.17 at $93.05 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 147.30 Japanese yen from 147.47 yen. The euro inched up to $1.0733 from $1.0732.

On Wednesday, U.S. markets were mixed, with the S&P 500 edging up 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 0.2%. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3%.

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Stock market today: Wall Street opens higher after retail, inflation data