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U.S. stocks are rising as investors await key inflation report

Published 11/01/2023, 15:34
© Reuters.

By Liz Moyer -- U.S. stocks were rising on Wednesday as investors awaited the latest reading on inflation.

At 11:38 ET (16:38 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 72 points or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.5% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.9%.

December’s consumer price index, which will be released on Thursday, could indicate how far the Federal Reserve has to go in its quest to tame inflation. Many traders expect the Fed will continue to raise interest rates but at a slower pace.

The Fed itself has indicated it will continue to raise rates and hold them higher for longer until it is convinced inflation is heading in the right direction – a sustained path toward its 2% target. The market is betting that means the Fed will raise rates by a quarter of a percentage point when it next meets in February.

Investors have been hoping that a slowdown in the pace of rate increases, and an eventual pause or pivot by the Fed, will stop weighing down the growth stock sector of the market, especially the badly beaten down tech stocks.

Analysts are expecting the inflation report for December to say prices rose 6.5% over the year, which would be lower than the 7.1% in November.

This week also serves as the official kick-off to fourth-quarter earnings season, with Wall Street’s biggest banks reporting starting on Friday. Rising interest rates will help lift profits from lending, but the slump in deal-making will weigh on that part of the business for firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).

Airline stocks were trading higher on Wednesday despite a halt to flights overnight because of a system outage. Flights started to resume by mid-morning but thousands have been delayed or canceled. Shares of American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) rose 0.6% and shares of United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:UAL) rose 3.2%.

Oil rose. Crude Oil WTI Futures were up 3.4% to $77.62 a barrel while Brent Oil Futures rose 3.4% to $82.78 a barrel. Gold Futures were flat at $1875.

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