U.S. Stocks Move Modestly Higher Following Inflation Data

After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved modestly higher over the course of the trading session on Tuesday. The major averages have inched up to their best intraday levels in well over a year.

The major averages have seen further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 103.82 points or 0.3 percent at 36,508.75, the Nasdaq is up 30.86 points or 0.2 percent at 14,463.35 and the S&P 500 is up 5.78 points or 0.1 percent at 4,628.22.

The uptick on Wall Street comes following the release of a highly anticipated Labor Department report showing U.S. consumer prices inched up in line with economist estimates in the month of November.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index crept up by 0.1 percent in November after coming in unchanged in October. The uptick matched expectations.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.3 percent in November after edging up by 0.2 percent in October. The increase in core prices also came in line with estimates.

The report also said the annual rate of consumer price growth slipped to 3.1 percent in November from 3.2 percent in October, while the annual rate of core consumer price growth was unchanged at 4.0 percent.

The data has added to optimism about the outlook for interest rates ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement on Wednesday, although traders seem reluctant to make more significant moves.

While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will be looking to the accompanying statement and projections for signs the central bank could begin cutting rates next year.

“The market remains steadfast in its belief that the Fed will cut rates as early as this spring, although the Fed may want to keep its options open if its campaign to quell inflation hasn’t completed the more difficult ‘last mile,'” said Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial.

She added, “The Fed statement in concert with the ‘dot plot,’ coupled with Powell’s comments, should offer markets more clarity and hopefully less confusion over the Fed’s path towards price stability.”

Sector News

Despite the uptick by the broader markets, gold stocks have shown a significant move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 2.3 percent.

The continued weakness among gold stocks comes even though the price of gold for February delivery is rising $3.80 to $1,997.50 an ounce.

Energy stocks are also seeing some weakness amid a steep drop by the price of crude oil, while most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have shown modest moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC Index is up by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are both up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have given back ground after an early jump but are currently seeing modest strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.2 basis points at 4.227 percent.

Source: Read Full Article