Wall Street major indexes saw modest gains on Wednesday ahead of key US economic data expected later in the week as investors weighed inflation concerns and a fresh spike in “meme stocks”.
The S&P 500 energy sector (.SPNY), the top performing group this year, extended their gains, gaining 1.7% as oil prices rose. The materials industry (.SPLRCM) fell 0.9% while Tesla Inc. was down 3.0% (TSLA.O) Stocks pushed the S&P 500 (.SPX) and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC).
A weekly unemployment report and May private payrolls on Thursday are followed by monthly employment numbers on Friday, with investors looking for signs of economic recovery and rising inflation.
“We look forward to Friday’s employment report and expect it to be significantly better than last month’s report,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management in Chicago.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 25.07 points, or 0.07%, to 34,600.38 points, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 6.08 points or 0.14% on 4,208.12 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 19.85 points, or 0.14%, to 13,756.33.
The benchmark S&P 500 (.SPX) has risen about 12% this year and is within about 1% of its record high as investors anticipate an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“After the fastest start to a bull market in history, we’ve seen expectations rise significantly, making it harder to surprise the market,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist for Truist Advisory Services in Atlanta. “After we had this big run for the last six or seven weeks, the market is in a range and you are consolidating those gains.”
Concerns about whether inflation could prompt Federal Reserve action have consumed markets in recent weeks.
The US economic recovery accelerates In the past few weeks as a long list of supply chain problems, hiring difficulties and soaring prices went through the country, Fed officials said in their latest review of economic conditions.
Philadelphia Fed Bank President Patrick Harker said it may be time for Fed policymakers to consider the best way to slow the pace of their asset purchases as the US economy continues to move away from the coronavirus The crisis recovers and the labor market recovers.
Rising issues exceeded the number of declining issues on the NYSE by a ratio of 1.34 to 1; on the Nasdaq, a ratio of 1.01 to 1 favored advanced.
The S&P 500 posted 60 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite made 127 new highs and 25 new lows.
About 12.2 billion shares changed hands on US stock exchanges, which was above the daily average of 10.5 billion in the last 20 sessions.
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