Stock market today: Wall Street opens higher following more signs of easing pressure on inflation

Dec 6, 2023, 12:55 AM | Updated: 7:42 am

Wall Street is opening higher following the latest signals that pressure on inflation may be easing. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% early Wednesday and is near its highest level in 20 months. The Dow rose 89 points, and the Nasdaq was up 0.6%. Campbell Soup and Toll Brothers jumped after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than expected. Treasury yields relaxed a bit more after reports suggested a cooldown in hiring and a pickup in business productivity. Those amped up hopes that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates in order to fight inflation.

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

Wall Street move higher Wednesday before the opening bell with more jobs data on the way that could provide further evidence that the labor market has cooled enough to bring an end to the rate hikes orchestrated by the Federal Reserve in its fight against inflation.

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.4% before markets opened, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%.

With inflation down from its peak two summers ago, there is growing hope that the Federal Reserve may finally be done with its market-shaking hikes to interest rates, and may even begin cutting rates. The hope is that the U.S. economy might pull off a soft landing, where high inflation is snuffed out without tipping the economy into recession.

Traders widely expect the Federal Reserve to hold its key interest rate steady at its meeting next week, before potentially cutting rates in March, according to data from CME Group.

U.S. stocks and Treasury yields wavered on Tuesday after reports showed that employers advertised far fewer job openings at the end of October than expected, while growth for services businesses accelerated more last month than forecast. Just 8.7 million jobs were advertised on the last day of October, down by 617,000 from a month earlier and the lowest level since 2021.

The government releases weekly layoffs data on Thursday, then follows up with its November jobs report on Friday. Layoffs have remained historically low, though it has gotten harder for unemployed people to find work with fewer jobs available.

Campbell Soup Co. rose 1.3% in early trading after the soup and snack company beat Wall Street’s first-quarter profit forecasts.

Ahead of a day-long event for investors, McDonald’s said it expects to open nearly 10,000 restaurants over the next four years, aiming to have 50,000 restaurants in operation worldwide by the end of 2027. That pace of growth would be unprecedented, even for the world’s largest burger chain. More details are expected at Wednesday’s event and the Chicago burger chain’s shares were unchanged in premarket trading.

Late Tuesday, Hollywood actors voted to ratify a deal with studios that ended their strike after nearly four months.

The approval of the three-year contract from the members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced by union leaders was no certainty, with some prominent members voicing dissent.

In Europe at midday London’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX both rose 0.5% while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.6%.

In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.8% to 16,573.00, while the Shanghai Composite edged 0.1% lower, to 2,968.93.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 2% to 33,445.90 after a top central bank official reiterated the Bank of Japan’s determination to maintain its easy credit policy until it achieves a stable level of inflation.

In Seoul, the Kospi was up less than 0.1%, at 2,495.38. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.7% to 7,178.40.

India’s Sensex gained 0.5% and the SET in Bangkok advanced 0.3%.

In other trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil shed 50 cents to $71.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 53 cents to $76.67 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar ticked up to 147.18 Japanese yen from 147.15 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0788 from $1.0797.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 edged 0.1% lower for its first back-to-back loss since October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.3%.

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Stock market today: Wall Street opens higher following more signs of easing pressure on inflation