Stock market today: Wall Street gains as earnings come in ahead of more labor market data

Wall Street continued to push higher Thursday after markets swung to a mixed finish a day earlier on news that the Federal Reserve was delaying cuts to interest rates.

Futures for the S&P 500 surged 0.6% before the bell, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.4% higher.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said it will likely take “longer than previously expected” to get confident enough to cut rates, a move that would ease pressure on the economy and investment prices.

At the same time, Powell said it was unlikely that a rate hike was coming at the Fed’s next policy meeting in June, calming fears swirling in the market.

Traders themselves had already downshifted their expectations for rate cuts this year to one or two, if any, after coming into the year forecasting six or more.

Powell had already hinted rates may stay high for a while. That was a disappointment for Wall Street after the Fed earlier had indicated it was penciling in three cuts to rates during 2024.

In premarket equities trading, DoorDash tumbled 11% after the food delivery app issued a profit forecast that came in below analyst targets. Investors also seemed concerned about rising costs for the company, which said it increased both marketing and research spending during the quarter.

Carvana jumped 38% in off-hours trading after the online used car dealer trimmed its losses by selling a record number of cars last quarter.

Connected exercise company Peloton rose 7.8% before the bell after it announced that it’s cutting about 400 employees worldwide, or 15% of its headcount, as part of a restructuring effort. The New York company, whose shares hit all-time lows last week around $3 each, also said its CEO Barry McCarthy is stepping down.

Now that the Fed rate decision has passed, outside of corporate earnings investors will be focused on labor market data. Coming later Thursday is the government‘s latest weekly tally of layoffs, followed by its more comprehensive April jobs report on Friday.

The labor market appears to be softening in recent months, one of the Fed’s goals in its bid to corral inflation. Earlier this week, the government reported that job openings fell to their lowest level in three years.

In Europe at midday, London’s FTSE 100 was up 0.4%, Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% lower and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.7%.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1% and closed at 38,236.07.

The Japanese yen surged as much as 2% in early Asia hours Thursday, driven by speculation of another round of yen-buying intervention by Japanese authorities and a weaker U.S. dollar following the Fed meeting. Later, the yen reversed its course and erased most of those gains. The dollar was trading at 154.81 yen, down from 154.91 yen.

In South Korea, the Kospi was down 0.3% to 2,683.65 after official data showed consumer prices in April rose 2.9% year on year, a slower pace compared to March.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 2.4% to 18,187.56. Other markets in China remained closed for the Labor Day holiday.

Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.2% to 7,587.00.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude ended three days of declines, climbing 71 cents to $79.71 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 82 cents to $84.26 a barrel.

In currency trading, the euro cost $1.0703, down from $1.0709.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% to 5,018.39. The index had rallied as much as 1.2% after the Fed’s news conference, but gave up those gains at the end of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% to 37,903.29, and the Nasdaq composite lost 0.3% to 15,605.48.


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