Stock market today: Wall Street ticks higher ahead of more testimony from Fed Chair Powell


NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are ticking higher, sending Wall Street toward more records. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% in early trading Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.4% higher. Big technology companies were leading the way again. A frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology has been a major reason the U.S. stock market has climbed to records this year, as have hopes that inflation is slowing enough for the Federal Reserve to deliver cuts to interest rates later this year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell returns to Capitol Hill to give a second day of testimony.

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

Wall Street leaned toward gains before Wednesday’s opening bell coming off another record day for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.2%, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1%.

Investors are awaiting comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to a congressional committee and looking ahead to earnings reports.

In testimony Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, Fed chair Powell reiterated that inflation has eased notably in the past two years, though it exceeds the central bank’s 2% target. There’s a risk in the Fed moving to cut interest rates too late or too little, he said, warning that either scenario could end up weaking the economy and job market.

Powell is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.

The U.S. releases new data on consumer prices Thursday and economists believe that they eased to 3.1% in June from 3.3% in May. A report for inflation at the wholesale level, before costs are passed on to consumers, is expected Friday.

Traders are betting that there’s a 70% chance that the central bank will cut its main interest rate as soon as September, according to data from CME Group.

The Fed has remained cautious about making a move on interest rates, holding its benchmark interest rate at its highest level in more than two decades as it waits cautiously for more signals that inflation is still cooling.

Corporate earnings will start rolling out this week when Delta Air Lines reports second quarter results Thursday.

Quarterly reports from JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will come Friday. They could provide more insight into consumer debt levels and whether banks are worried about payments and potential delinquencies.

Stocks have been gaining ground steadily over the last several months, helping to push the S&P 500 to 36 records so far this year.

LegalZoom shares tumbled more than 28% after the online legal services company slashed its 2024 revenue guidance and announced the departure of CEO Dan Wernikoff, who will be replaced by Chairman Jeffrey Stibel.

Apple extended its impressive run this year, inching up less than 1% in premarket after the technology market research firm IDC reported that the California-based tech giant’s second-quarter PC shipments grew more than 20% over a year ago. Apple is up more than 30% since May when the company announced a massive $110 billion buyback of its own shares.

Elsewhere, in Europe at midday Germany’s DAX and and London’s FTSE 100 each added 0.6%, while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.7%.

In Asian trading, the Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed at another record high gaining 0.6% to finish the session at 41,831.99. It also had a record close on Tuesday, and hit an all-time high of 41,889.16 during the day Wednesday.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 has advanced nearly 30% in the past year and is up 5% in the past three months.

Investors have been snapping up technology-related shares as enthusiasm builds over the potential of artificial intelligence. Export-oriented companies have also seen strong gains since their profits have soared due to the weakness of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index slipped 0.2% to 17,479.12, while the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.7% to 2,939.36.

China reported that its consumer price index slipped to 0.2% in June from 0.3% in May, below expectations largely due to declines in prices for foods other than pork.

“Weak consumer confidence continues to drive consumption in the direction of seeking better value-for-money purchases, and competition in the EV sector continues to drive prices down, suppressing overall inflation,” Lynn Song of ING Economics said in a commentary.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 0.2% lower, at 7,816.80.

In Seoul, the Kospi was nearly unchanged at 2,867.99. Taiwan’s Taiex gained 0.5% while India’s Sensex lost 0.7%.

In energy markets, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 22 cents to $81.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 26 cents to $84.40 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 161.47 Japanese yen from 161.34 yen. The euro climbed to $1.0825 from $1.0813.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite each rose 0.1%, enough to bump up the indexes to all-time highs for the second time this week. The Dow fell 0.1%.



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