Wall Street drifts ahead of reports on inflation and big retailers' profits
Record-Journal (Meriden, CT)
NEW YORK - Wall Street drifted through a mixed Monday to open a week that could bring more action to financial markets, with several big reports on the calendar.
The S&P 500 slipped 3.69 points, or 0.1%, to 4,411.55.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 54.77, or 0.2%, to 34,337.87, and the Nasdaq composite fell 30.36, or 0.2%, to 13,767.74.
The market was coming off a week with relatively few reports to give hints on Wall Street's central questions: When will the Federal Reserve halt its hikes to interest rates and begin cutting them, and can the economy stay as resilient as it has? But this week will offer more, including the latest monthly update on inflation and earnings reports from some of the nation's biggest retailers.
The profit reporting season for the summer is winding down, and the majority of companies have again topped analysts' expectations. Henry Schein became the latest to beat Wall Street's forecasts, and the provider of health care products rose 5.4%.
Tyson Foods' results also topped expectations for adjusted earnings, but its stock fell 2.8% after it warned of potentially challenging times ahead. The meat company said it could see zero growth in its overall revenue this upcoming fiscal year.
Later this week, Target, TJX and Walmart will report their own results, and more attention may also be on what they say about upcoming trends than about the summer.
The economy has remained strong, even though the Federal Reserve has hiked its main interest rate to its highest level since 2001 in hopes of stamping out high inflation. But worries remain about whether it can stay solid as the full effects of rate hikes make their way through the system.
That's why so much attention will be on Tuesday's inflation report. The hope is that inflation will continue to cool from its peak in the summer of 2022, when it topped 9%, and convince the Federal Reserve that no more hikes to rates are necessary. That in turn could speed up the timeline for potential cuts to interest rates, which can juice financial markets. Economists expect the report to show that consumers paid prices that were 3.3% higher in October than a year earlier, down from September's inflation rate of 3.7%.