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NYSE closed Thursday for Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S


Wall Street ends higher ahead of Thanksgiving holiday in the US​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, keeping the market on pace for a fourth straight winning week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, with nearly all of its sectors notching gains on the final day of trading ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite each rose 0.5%.

All told, the S&P 500 added 18.43 points to 4,556.62. The Dow rose 184.74 points to 35,273.03, and the Nasdaq gained 65.88 points to 14,265.86.

Technology and communications services stocks accounted for a big share of the gains for the S&P 500. Microsoft rose 1.3% and Google parent Alphabet added 1.1%.

Energy stocks were the only laggard, slipping 0.1%. The price of U.S. crude oil fell 0.9% after OPEC said it would postpone its latest conference to next week. The oil cartel has been maintaining a tight market for crude oil with production cuts.

The drop in oil prices weighed on energy companies. Energy giant Exxon Mobil fell 0.4% and oilfield services company Halliburton dropped 0.8%.

The pullback in oil prices helped boost shares in airlines and other companies that stand to benefit from lower fuel costs. United Airlines rose 0.9% and American Airlines gained 1.5%. Cruise line operator Carnival rose 1.9%.

Nvidia fell 2.5%, despite handily beating analysts’ profit and revenue forecasts. The company continues to face pressure because of export restrictions to China. Nvidia’s stock has more than tripled this year amid booming demand for its chips in artificial intelligence applications.

Treasury yields were relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.41% from 4.40% late Tuesday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury slipped to 4.88% from 4.89% late Tuesday.

Stocks in Asia and Europe ended mostly mixed. Trading tapered off ahead of holidays in the U.S. and Japan, with few data releases to give markets direction. Markets will be closed in the U.S. on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will close early on Friday.

A consumer sentiment survey by the University of Michigan showed that confidence remains strong. Wall Street has been closely watching consumer spending and confidence reports for more clues on the economy’s path ahead.

“There’s a real sense out there that we’re making progress,” said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. “Slowing, but growing is what the economy is doing.”

Forecasts for a potential recession have been pushed further out into 2024 while also being softened. The rate of inflation continues to ease, consumer spending remains solid and the economy is generally humming along. That has encouraged hopes, and bets, that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and could soon consider cutting rates.

Fed officials, though, have said the outlook for the economy remains uncertain and they’ll make upcoming decisions on rates based on incoming reports. The Fed will get another big update next week when the government releases its October report for a key inflation measure tracked by the central bank.

Meanwhile, investors had their eye on the latest round of corporate earnings.

Several well-known retailers reported their latest financial results. Department store operator Nordstrom fell 4.6% after trimming its profit forecast for the year. Clothing retailer Guess slumped 12.3% after cutting its financial forecast.

Tractor maker Deere, a bellwether for the agricultural industry, fell 3.1% after giving Wall Street a discouraging financial forecast and industry outlook.

Broadcom slipped 0.9% after announcing that it expects to complete its $69 billion deal to acquire VMWare on Wednesday after clearing all regulatory hurdles.

ASX 200 expected to fall


The Australian share market looks set to open the day lower on Thursday despite Wall Street having a positive session. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 12 points or 0.1% lower this morning.

Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street Wednesday, keeping the market on pace for a fourth straight winning week.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, with nearly all of its sectors notching gains on the final day of trading ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite each rose 0.5%.

All told, the S&P 500 added 18.43 points to 4,556.62. The Dow rose 184.74 points to 35,273.03, and the Nasdaq gained 65.88 points to 14,265.86.


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World shares are mixed, with markets in Japan and US closed for holidays​

By ELAINE KURTENBACH

World shares were mixed on Thursday after a modest advance on Wall Street that kept the market on track for a fourth straight weekly gain.

Markets in Japan and the U.S. are closed for holidays.

Oil prices initially fell about $1 a barrel after OPEC postponed until next week a meeting to discuss production cuts. The oil cartel has been maintaining a tight market for crude oil with production cuts. It is expected to extend those cuts after oil prices have fallen after a spike in the summer to almost $100 a barrel.

Germany’s DAX gained 0.1% to 15,969.49 and the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.1% at 7,266.18. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.2% higher to 7,080.48

The futures for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average were virtually unchanged.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose 0.4% and the Dow rose 0.5%. The Nasdaq gained 0.5%. Trading was muted ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. U.S. markets will open for half a day of trading on Friday.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng reversed early losses, gaining 1% to 17,910.84 and the Shanghai Composite index rose 0.6% to 3,061.86.

Markets in Greater China have been swaying in reaction to moves by Chinese regulators to prop up the ailing property market. Shares in troubled developer Country Garden jumped 16% amid reports that it is included on a list of real estate companies eligible for financing support. Sino-Ocean Group Holding’s shares soared 27%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6% to 7,029.20. In South Korea, the Kospi edged 0.1% higher, to 2,514.96.

Bangkok’s SET lost 0.4% and the Taiex in Taiwan was down 0.1%. The Sensex in Mumbai gained 0.1%.

Technology and communications services stocks accounted for a big share of Wednesday’s gains for the S&P 500. Microsoft rose 1.3% and Google parent Alphabet added 1.1%.

Broadcom slipped 0.9% after announcing that it expects to complete its $69 billion deal to acquire VMWare on Wednesday after clearing all regulatory hurdles.

A 0.9% drop in oil prices weighed on energy companies. Energy giant Exxon Mobil fell 0.4% and oilfield services company Halliburton dropped 0.8%.

Nvidia fell 2.5%, despite handily beating analysts’ profit and revenue forecasts. Export restrictions to China are pressuring the company, though its stock has more than tripled this year amid booming demand for its chips in artificial intelligence applications.

Treasury yields were relatively steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.41% from 4.40% late Tuesday.

A consumer sentiment survey by the University of Michigan showed that confidence remains strong. Wall Street has been closely watching consumer spending and confidence reports for more clues on the economy’s path ahead.

Forecasts for a potential recession have been pushed further out into 2024 while also being softened. The rate of inflation continues to ease, consumer spending remains solid and the economy is generally humming along. That has encouraged hopes, and bets, that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and could soon consider cutting rates.

“Turkey prices cost around 5.6% less than last year, stuffing mix costs nearly 3% less, pie crusts are nearly 5% cheaper and cranberry prices are down by more than 18%,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya of Swissquote said in a commentary. “It is said that an average 10 people Thanksgiving feast would cost less than $62 -- that’s less than $6.2 per person, down from around 4.5% compared to last year.”

Fed officials have said the outlook for the economy remains uncertain and they’ll make upcoming decisions on rates based on incoming reports. The Fed will get another big update next week when the government releases its October report for a key inflation measure tracked by the central bank.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 49 cents to $76.61 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It dropped 67 cents to $77.10 per barrel on Wednesday, but fell as low as $73.50 during trading.

Brent crude, the international pricing standard, gave up 60 cents to $81.36 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar slipped to 149.19 Japanese yen from 149.56 yen. The euro rose to $1.0912 from $1.0889.

ASX 200 expected to rise

The Australian share market looks set to end the week on a positive note. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 12 points or 0.2% higher this morning.

Wall Street was closed for Thanksgiving, but European markets were higher. The DAX and the FTSE both rose 0.2%.


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Wall Street ends mixed in half-day session, marks fourth straight winning week​

By ALEX VEIGA

Stocks drifted to a mixed finish Friday after a half-day trading session capped a holiday shortened week that left the major indexes with their fourth straight winning week.

The S&P 500 inched up 0.1% after wavering between small gains and losses much of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3% and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%.

All told, the S&P 500 added 2.72 points to 4,559.34. The Dow rose 117.12 points to 35,390.15, and the Nasdaq fell 15 points to 14,250.85.

Trading was muted as markets reopened following the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Gains in health care, financial, energy and other sectors helped temper losses in technology and communication services stocks.

Chipmaker Nvidia and Google parent Alphabet were among the biggest decliners, losing 1.9% and 1.3%, respectively. Among the big gainers in the S&P 500 were CF Industries, which rose 2.6%, and Best Buy, which closed 2.2% higher.

The major stock indexes’ latest weekly gains reflect a turnaround in the market’s sentiment in November following a three-month slide. Traders have grown cautiously optimistic that inflation has cooled enough for the Federal Reserve to finally be done with its market-crunching hikes to interest rates.

Forecasts for a potential recession have been pushed further out into 2024 while also being softened. The rate of inflation continues to ease, consumer spending remains solid and the economy is generally humming along. That has encouraged hopes, and bets, that the Federal Reserve might even consider cutting rates.

Fed officials, though, have said the outlook for the economy remains uncertain and they’ll make upcoming decisions on rates based on incoming reports. The Fed will get another big update next week when the government releases its October report for a key inflation measure tracked by the central bank.

In the bond market, Treasury yields broadly rose Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, rose to 4.47% from 4.41% late Wednesday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury rose to 4.95% from 4.90% late Wednesday.

Oil prices, a key driver of inflation, continued to ease Friday, with U.S. crude sliding 2%. Oil prices have plunged in recent weeks amid worries about a mismatch between too much crude supply and too little demand.

Investors are watching to see how U.S. retailers will fare as the holiday shopping season kicks off with Black Friday, given growing concerns that spending may slow under pressure from dwindling savings, rising credit card debt and inflation.

The latest quarterly results from a string of retailers from Walmart to Best Buy to Saks Fifth Avenue suggested a weakening of consumer appetites for spending even as inflation eases and employment remains robust.

Shares were mostly higher in Europe. Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2, while the CAC 40 in Paris edged up 0.2%. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.1%.

Asian markets ended mixed. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.5% after Japan reported its consumer inflation rose for the first time in four months, with big gains in food prices and hotel rates as tourism has soared. The consumer price index rose 3.3% in October from a year earlier, up from 3% in September in a trend contrary to the Bank of Japan’s forecasts for price pressures to abate toward the year’s end.

“Both the government and the BOJ will be concerned about higher-than-expected inflation,” Robert Carnell and Min Joo Kang of ING Economics said in a commentary. That will likely lead the central bank to adjust its extremely lax monetary policy in the new year, they said.

In China, shares fell back after recent gains driven by expectations of more government support for debt-burdened property developers. Shares in Country Garden, one of the biggest, sank 7.6% after gaining 16% the day before.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 2%, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.7%.

Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.7%, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.2%.


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ASX 200 to rise again​


The Australian share market looks set to open the week higher following a relatively positive finish on Wall Street on Friday. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 20 points or 0.25% higher on Monday.

In the United States, stocks drifted to a mixed finish Friday after a half-day trading session capped a holiday shortened week that left the major indexes with their fourth straight winning week.

The S&P 500 inched up 0.1% after wavering between small gains and losses much of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3% and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.1%.

All told, the S&P 500 added 2.72 points to 4,559.34. The Dow rose 117.12 points to 35,390.15, and the Nasdaq fell 15 points to 14,250.85.


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Wall Street edges lower as four-week winning streak cools off​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

The major U.S. stock indexes ended slightly lower Monday as Wall Street looks ahead to updates on inflation and how American consumers are feeling about the economy.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%. The benchmark index was coming off a holiday-shortened week in the U.S. and its fourth straight winning week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed 0.2% lower, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.1%.

All told, the S&P 500 fell 8.91 points to 4,550.43. The Dow slipped 56.68 points to 35,333.47, and the Nasdaq lost 9.83 points to 14,241.02.

Health care, communication services and industrial stocks were among the biggest drags on the market. Eli Lilly & Co. fell 1.6%, Meta Platforms slid 1% and Union Pacific closed 2% lower.

Technology stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending were bright spots. Chipmaker Nvidia rose 1% and Amazon.com gained 0.7%.

Shopify climbed 4.4% after the cloud-based commerce company announced a Black Friday record for worldwide sales of $4.1 billion from its merchants.

In the bond market, Treasury yields fell broadly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other loans, fell to 4.39% from 4.47% late Friday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury slid to 4.88% from 4.95%.

Stocks closed mostly lower in Asia and Europe.

Investors have grown cautiously optimistic that inflation has cooled enough for the Federal Reserve to put a definitive end to its aggressive interest rate hikes. Meanwhile, the broader economy has remained strong enough in the face of rising interest rates and inflation to avoid a recession.

Markets have been rallying on that sentiment and the S&P 500 remains on track to close out November as its best month of the year. Investors will get more updates on the economy this week to help either confirm or soften that sentiment.

On Tuesday the Conference Board issues its latest report on consumer confidence, which has remained solid throughout the year. Economists polled by FactSet expect another solid reading for the October report.

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 0.9% Monday, remaining mostly stable ahead of OPEC’s meeting on Thursday. The cartel has maintained tight supplies, though prices have been falling over the last month. Lower energy prices could further ease inflation’s squeeze on consumers and help fuel economic growth.

On Thursday, Wall Street will be closely watching the government’s October data on the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation. Economists expect that measure to continue easing, as it has been since the middle of 2022.

Investors have put the latest round of surprisingly good corporate earnings behind them, following several disappointing quarters. The main focus through the end of the year will be on the Fed and what it does next.

The Fed has been holding its benchmark interest rate steady at a range of 5.25% to 5.50% since its last quarter-point hike at its July meeting. Wall Street is betting that the rate will remain stable at the central bank’s December meeting and into early 2024, according to CME’s FedWatch tool.

Investors are increasingly leaning toward the Fed cutting rates in the middle of 2024 and easing it off its highest level in two decades. The central bank, though, has said it will make upcoming decisions based on the latest economic reports in its ongoing effort to cool inflation without slowing economic growth to the point of causing a recession.


ASX 200 expected to rise​


The Australian share market is expected to rise on Tuesday as major U.S. stock indexes ended slightly lower. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day 6 points or 0.1% higher.

In in the United States, the major U.S. stock indexes ended slightly lower Monday as Wall Street looks ahead to updates on inflation and how American consumers are feeling about the economy.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%. The benchmark index was coming off a holiday-shortened week in the U.S. and its fourth straight winning week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed 0.2% lower, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.1%.

All told, the S&P 500 fell 8.91 points to 4,550.43. The Dow slipped 56.68 points to 35,333.47, and the Nasdaq lost 9.83 points to 14,241.02.


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Wall Street drifts to a mostly higher close and Treasury yields fall​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

Stocks drifted to a mostly higher close Tuesday following a strong report on consumer confidence and a boost to hopes that the Federal Reserve is finished with its aggressive interest rate hikes.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% after hovering between small gains and losses. The benchmark index is on track to close out November with its strongest monthly gain of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite eked out a 0.3% gain.

Gains in technology stocks, retailers and other sectors helped temper declines elsewhere in the market. Microsoft rose 1.1%, Tesla climbed 4.5% and Best Buy rose 2.4%. GE Healthcare Technologies was among the biggest decliners, closing 4.2% lower.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 4.46 points to 4,554.89. The Dow added 83.51 points to close at 35,416.98, and the Nasdaq gained 40.73 points to 14,281.76.

Bond yields fell. The 10-year Treasury yield, which influences mortgage rates, slipped to 4.34% from 4.39% late Monday. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tracks expectations for Federal Reserve action, fell significantly, to 4.73% from 4.89% late Monday.

U.S. crude oil prices rose 2.1%.

Investors are closely watching several economic updates this week for more clues about how consumers feel and whether the rate of inflation is still easing. They are betting that the Fed will continue to hold its benchmark rate steady. That sentiment was reaffirmed Tuesday by Christopher Waller, a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors.

“I am increasingly confident that policy is currently well-positioned to slow the economy and get inflation back to 2%,” Waller said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

The Fed will meet again in December to update its interest rate policy. The central bank had been raising rates to push the rate of inflation back down to 2% and has been closing in on that goal. Inflation has plunged from a peak of 9.1% in June 2022 to 3.2% in October.

Wall Street is also increasingly betting that the Fed could start cutting interest rates from their highest level in two decades by the middle of 2024.

The central bank has been working to lower rates while trying to avoid a recession in what is referred to as a “soft landing” for the economy. The latest economic data adds to hopes for that outcome.

Consumer confidence remains strong heading into the holiday shopping season. The Conference Board’s November consumer confidence survey released Tuesday topped analysts’ forecasts. Consumer spending accounts for around 70% of U.S. economic activity and it has remained a bulwark against slower economic growth.

“Signs of a resilient consumer keep a soft landing possibility in play,” said Ed Clissold, chief U.S. strategist at Ned Davis Research.

On Thursday the government releases its October data on the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation. Economists expect that measure to continue easing, as it has been since the middle of 2022. The loosening grip from inflation and a resilient economy have raised hopes that the Fed might finally be finished with raising its benchmark interest rate.

That has helped fuel a rally on Wall Street. The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 8.6% in November, on track for its biggest monthly gain of 2023. Every major index is headed for a solid November gain.

“The challenge has been that, related to bonds, stocks are fairly expensive,” Clissold said. “Now, with yields coming down, that’s no longer the case.”


ASX 200 expected to edge higher​


The Australian share market looks set to edge higher on Wednesday despite a subdued night on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 15 points or 0.2% higher this morning.

NYSE stocks drifted to a mostly higher close Tuesday following a strong report on consumer confidence and a boost to hopes that the Federal Reserve is finished with its aggressive interest rate hikes.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.1% after hovering between small gains and losses. The benchmark index is on track to close out November with its strongest monthly gain of the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite eked out a 0.3% gain.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 4.46 points to 4,554.89. The Dow added 83.51 points to close at 35,416.98, and the Nasdaq gained 40.73 points to 14,281.76.


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Wall Street drifts to a mixed close, weighed down by Big Tech​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

Wall Street capped a choppy day of trading with a mixed finish Wednesday as a late-afternoon pullback among several Big Tech companies offset gains elsewhere in the market.

The S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower after having been up by 0.7% earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up 0.5% before finishing with a gain of just 0.1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.2%.

Facebook parent company Meta fell 2%, Google’s parent company Alphabet gave up 1.6% and Microsoft dropped 1%.

Still, gainers outnumbered decliners by a nearly 2-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange.

Automakers were among the bright spots. General Motors surged 9.4% after the company announced a big stock buyback, raised its dividend and told investors it won’t have any trouble absorbing the costs of its new labor contract. The stock is still down 6.1% for the year, while the S&P 500 is up more than 18%.

GM and its rivals agreed to new contracts with the United Auto Workers and Canadian auto workers in late October following strikes that lasted more than a month.

Ford rose 2.1% and Jeep maker Stellantis rose 5.3%.

All told, the S&P 500 fell 4.31 points to 4,550.58, the Dow rose 13.44 points to 35,430.42, and the Nasdaq dropped 23.27 points to 14,258.49.

Stocks rose in Europe and were mixed in Asia.

Treasury yields fell, taking more pressure off of stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, slipped to 4.26% from 4.33%. The yield on the 2-year Treasury fell sharply to 4.66% from 4.75%.

Wall Street also received another encouraging economic update Wednesday. The U.S. economy grew at a brisk 5.2% annual pace from July through September, the government reported Wednesday, an upgrade from its previous estimate of 4.9%.

The revision helps give more credence to the argument that a recession was always unlikely in 2023, said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group. Fears about a recession have been waning throughout the year amid strong economic reports.

“Below the surface though, you’re starting to see some cracks in the data,” he said. “Consumer spending having a negative impact on GDP is an unusual circumstance.”

Consumer spending, the lifeblood of the economy, rose at a 3.6% annual rate from July through September. That’s still healthy, but a downgrade from the previous estimate of 4%.

The report follows an encouraging survey on consumer confidence released Tuesday.

The broader economy has remained resilient partly because of strong consumer spending, despite lingering pressure from inflation. Wall Street will be closely watching retailers as they move through the important holiday shopping season. A record 200.4 million consumers shopped online and in stores over the holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

Sneaker and athletic apparel retailer Foot Locker rose 16.1% after reporting strong third-quarter earnings and giving investors an encouraging update on its financial forecast. Several other big retailers also gained ground. Nike rose 1.5% and Lululemon Athletica rose 2.5%.

Investors will get another key economic update on Thursday when the government releases its October data on the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation. Economists expect that measure to continue easing, as it has been since the middle of 2022. The Federal Reserve will meet again in December to update its interest rate policy.

Wall Street expects the Fed to keep its benchmark interest rate steady and is betting that it is finished hiking rates, which remain at their highest levels in two decades. The central bank has said it will base future rate decisions on the latest economic data, though recent statements from officials have boosted hopes that the most aggressive round of rate hikes is at an end.

Christopher Waller, a member of the Fed’s Board of Governors, signaled Tuesday that the central bank is likely finished raising rates and could cut rates as early as spring. Wall Street is betting that the Fed will start cutting rates by the middle of 2024.

Several stocks rallied Wednesday after delivering strong financial updates. NetApp jumped 14.6% after easily beating analysts’ forecasts for earnings in its latest quarter and raising its outlook for the year. TurboTax maker Intuit rose 2.2% and software maker Workday gained 11% following encouraging results and forecasts.

On the losing end was Spam maker Hormel foods, which fell 4.6% after giving investors a weak profit forecast.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands slid 4.9% after Miriam Adelson, the casino operator’s controlling shareholder, sold some $2 billion in stock. The move came ahead of an announcement Wednesday that Adelson’s family have agreed to buy a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise, which is owned by Mark Cuban.


ASX 200 expected to open higher​

The Australian share market looks set to open the day marginally higher on Thursday following a Wall Street choppy day of trading with a mixed finish Wednesday. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 5 points higher this morning.

Wall Street capped a choppy day of trading with a mixed finish Wednesday as a late-afternoon pullback among several Big Tech companies offset gains elsewhere in the market.

The S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower after having been up by 0.7% earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up 0.5% before finishing with a gain of just 0.1%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 0.2%.

All told, the S&P 500 fell 4.31 points to 4,550.58, the Dow rose 13.44 points to 35,430.42, and the Nasdaq dropped 23.27 points to 14,258.49.


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Wall Street closes out its best month in more than a year​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

Stocks closed mostly higher Thursday as the market ended November with its biggest monthly gain in more than a year.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% after drifting between small gains and losses. The benchmark index rose 8.9% in November, its biggest monthly gain since July 2022.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.5%, while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2%. Both indexes also posted solid gains for the month, finishing with gains of 8.8% and 10.7%, respectively.

The market marched steadily higher for much of November as investors grew hopeful that the Federal Reserve is finally done raising interest rates, which fight inflation by slowing the economy. Those hopes got more support with a report that the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation cooled last month.

November’s rally was also driven largely by the technology sector, where several companies with high values tend to disproportionately impact the market. Microsoft gained 12.1% for the month, while Nvidia rose 14.7%. Also, Treasury yields have generally been falling and easing pressure on stocks. High yields tend to make expensive stocks look less attractive to investors.

“The rally has been dramatic in its move,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial.

The momentum has stalled over the last week or so, which is the market’s way of dealing with an overbought scenario, she said, but it hardly suggests a deep sell-off ahead.

“What you want to see is that next leg up as we close the year,” she said. “November is a strong month for the market, but so is December.”

Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department said prices were unchanged from September to October, down from a 0.4% rise the previous month. Compared with a year ago, consumer prices rose 3% in October, below the 3.4% annual rate in September. That was the lowest year-over-year inflation rate in more than 2 1/2 years.

The Fed’s aggressive rate hike policy pushed its benchmark interest rate from near zero in 2022 to its highest level in two decades by the middle of 2023. The goal has been to tame inflation back to the Fed’s target rate of 2%.

Wall Street is betting that the central bank will continue to hold rates steady at its December meeting and into early 2024, when it could start considering cutting interest rates. Fed officials have hinted at those possibilities, while also saying any future moves will be based on economic data.

The latest data on economic growth and consumer confidence have also raised hopes that the Fed will achieve its sought-after “soft landing,” which involves cooling the inflation without throwing the economy into a recession. Meanwhile, the latest round of surprisingly encouraging corporate earnings gave investors more confidence that businesses and the economy can keep humming along.

Treasury yields gained ground Thursday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, rose to 4.34% from 4.26% late Wednesday.

Traders had their eye on companies reporting quarterly results.

Software company Salesforce jumped 9.4% after giving investors a strong profit forecast. Cloud-computing company Snowflake rose 7% after also giving Wall Street an encouraging financial forecast.

On the losing end, data storage company Pure Storage fell 12.2% after giving investors a disappointing revenue outlook.

Also Thursday, the Labor Department said slightly more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but the overall number of people in the U.S. collecting benefits rose to its highest level in two years. The report shows that the labor market remains strong, but is showing signs of softening.

Oil prices have also been falling, as have gasoline prices in the U.S., relieving pressure on consumers. The price of U.S. crude oil fell 2.4% Thursday, despite the latest extension of OPEC’s production cuts.

In Europe, the latest data showed that inflation dropped more than expected to 2.4% in November, the lowest in more than two years. The new figure is close to the European Central Bank’s inflation target of 2% following a rapid series of interest rate hikes dating to summer 2022.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 17.22 points to 4,567.80 on Thursday. The Dow jumped 520.47 points to 35,950.89, with an assist from Salesforce, which reported better-than-expected results and raised its outlook. The Nasdaq composite dropped 32.27 points to 14,226.22.

Stocks in Asia and Europe closed mostly higher.

ASX 200 expected to fall

The Australian share market looks set to end the week in the red following a mixed session on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 9 points or 0.1% lower this morning.

On Wall Street, stocks closed mostly higher Thursday as the market ended November with its biggest monthly gain in more than a year.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% after drifting between small gains and losses. The benchmark index rose 8.9% in November, its biggest monthly gain since July 2022.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.5%, while the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2%. Both indexes also posted solid gains for the month, finishing with gains of 8.8% and 10.7%, respectively.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 17.22 points to 4,567.80 on Thursday. The Dow jumped 520.47 points to 35,950.89, with an assist from Salesforce, which reported better-than-expected results and raised its outlook. The Nasdaq composite dropped 32.27 points to 14,226.22.

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Wall Street extends its rally and closes at highest level since March 2022​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

A broad rally on Wall Street closed out a fifth straight week of gains for the market Friday, driving the S&P 500 to its highest level in more than a year.

The benchmark index rose 0.6%, eclipsing its previous high for the year set in July. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.8% higher, while the Nasdaq composite added 0.6%. Gainers outnumbered decliners by roughly 6-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The latest gains followed the market’s best month in more than a year. Growing expectations on Wall Street that the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates as soon as early next year have put investors in a buying mood.

“A lot of investors now are accelerating when the Fed is likely to initiate its first cut to the end of the first quarter of 2024, rather than the the prior forecast of some time in the second quarter,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

Hope that the Federal Reserve is finally done raising interest rates in its fight to control inflation helped push markets steadily higher through much of November. Recent economic data supports that view.

On Thursday, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation showed a cooling last month. Inflation has been easing overall since the middle of 2022 when the Fed started aggressively raising its benchmark interest rate. That followed mostly encouraging updates on economic growth and consumer confidence that have raised hopes that the Fed will achieve its sought-after “soft landing,” which involves cooling the inflation without throwing the economy into a recession.

A government report on Friday showed that construction spending continued rising in October, topping economists’ forecasts for growth. Wall Street will get several updates next week on the job market, including the government’s closely watched monthly employment report for November.

Speaking at Spelman College in Atlanta on Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said, “It would be premature to conclude with confidence” that the central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate high enough to fully defeat inflation. He added that it’s not the time to speculate on when the Fed will cut rates.

That didn’t dash Wall Street’s optimism of a Fed rate cut happening as soon as next spring. Investors see a nearly 56% chance of it happening in March, up from just a 21% chance a week ago, according to data from CME Group.

Treasury yields have been broadly falling amid sentiment that the Fed’s aggressive rate hike policy is finished and potentially heading for a reversal. The trend continued Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, fell to 4.21% from 4.34% late Thursday. It was as high as 5.00% in October.

The yield on the two-year Treasury fell to 4.55% from 4.70% late Thursday. Falling bond yields have helped relieve pressure on stocks, especially technology stocks.

Investors entered December on track to close out the year with solid gains. The S&P 500 is up 19.7% and the Nasdaq composite is up 36.7% in 2023. Smaller-company stocks have also recently turned higher for the year following the market’s recent rally. The Russell 2000 index is now up 5.8% for the year.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 26.83 points to 4,594.63, its highest level since March 30, 2022. The Dow added 294.61 points to close at 36,245.50. The Nasdaq gained 78.81 points to finish at 14,305.03.

European markets closed higher and Asian markets finished mostly lower.

Industrial stocks were among the biggest gainers Friday. Construction equipment maker Caterpillar rose 2.4% and railroad operator Union Pacific rose 2.7%.

Elsewhere in the market, computer maker Dell fell 5.2% after giving investors a weaker-than-expected revenue forecast. Beauty products retailer Ulta Beauty jumped 10.8% after reporting results that beat estimates.

The price of U.S. crude oil fell 2.5%. Oil prices and U.S. gasoline prices have been broadly easing for several months. That’s helping to relieve pressure on American families and businesses from rising prices.



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ASX 200 expected to jump​


The Australian share market looks set to open the week notably higher following a solid finish on Wall Street on Friday. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 65 points or 0.9% higher on Monday.

A broad rally on Wall Street closed out a fifth straight week of gains for the market Friday, driving the S&P 500 to its highest level in more than a year.

The benchmark index rose 0.6%, eclipsing its previous high for the year set in July. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.8% higher, while the Nasdaq composite added 0.6%. Gainers outnumbered decliners by roughly 6-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 26.83 points to 4,594.63, its highest level since March 30, 2022. The Dow added 294.61 points to close at 36,245.50. The Nasdaq gained 78.81 points to finish at 14,305.03.


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Wall Street loses ground ahead of key reports on the job market​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

Wall Street gave back some of its recent gains Monday as stocks finished lower ahead of some key reports this week on the job market that might provide more insight into the Federal Reserve’s thinking about interest rates.

The S&P 500 closed 0.5% lower. The benchmark index was coming off its best month in more than a year, and reached its highest level in more than a year on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.8%.

Treasury yields rose broadly, putting some pressure on stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, climbed to 4.25% from 4.21% late Friday.

Technology and communication services companies were the biggest weights on the market. Microsoft fell 1.4%, Nvidia dropped 2.7%, Meta Platforms slid 1.5% and Netflix lost 2.5%.

Alaska Air Group slumped 14.2% after announcing it will buy Hawaiian Airlines for $1 billion in cash plus the assumption of debt. The deal would test the Biden administration as it fights consolidation in the airline sector.

Spotify surged 7.5% after announcing its third round of layoffs this year. Uber gained 2.2% after the ride-hailing service was named to join the S&P 500 index.

All told, the S&P 500 fell 24.85 points to 4,569.78. The Dow dropped 41.06 points to 36,204.44, and the Nasdaq gave up 119.54 points to 14,185.49.

Markets ended mixed in Europe and Asia.

U.S. crude oil prices fell 1.4%. Oil prices have been slipping recently, helping ease pressure on inflation.

Wall Street is coming off a solid week and a strong November on hopes that inflation is easing enough to allow the Federal Reserve to stop raising interest rates. Investors are also hoping that the economy remains strong enough to avoid a recession.

Investors will get several key updates on the economy this week, including reports on the services sector and the jobs market.

The Institute for Supply Management will release its November report on the services sector on Tuesday. The sector is a key component in the U.S. economy and accounts for the majority of the nation’s jobs. The report could provide more insight into consumer spending and the jobs market.

Wall Street will get several reports this week that focus on the broader employment picture in the U.S. The government will release its October update on job openings on Tuesday and a weekly report on applications for unemployment benefits on Thursday.

Investors will be closely watching the government’s monthly jobs report for November, which is on Friday. Analysts polled by FactSet expect U.S. employers to have added 175,000 jobs last month. They forecast that the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.9%.

The labor market has remained strong in the U.S. even as the Fed has raised interest rates sharply in order to fight inflation by slowing the entire economy. Inflation has been falling since the middle of 2022. The central bank paused raising rates after its most recent increase in late July.

Wall Street expects rates to remain steady into early 2024, when the Fed could begin cutting interest rates back from their highest level in two decades. The Fed’s next decision on rates will follow the close of their next two-day meeting on Dec. 13.

“We’re expecting to have a quiet, or at least a consensus outcome, from the Federal Reserve meeting and therefore the trends that are in place are likely to have more likelihood to continue,” said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

ASX 200 expected to fall​


The Australian share market is expected to give back some of yesterday's gains on Tuesday following a poor start to the week on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day 38 points or 0.5% lower.

Wall Street gave back some of its recent gains Monday as stocks finished lower ahead of some key reports this week on the job market that might provide more insight into the Federal Reserve’s thinking about interest rates.

The S&P 500 closed 0.5% lower. The benchmark index was coming off its best month in more than a year, and reached its highest level in more than a year on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.8%.

All told, the S&P 500 fell 24.85 points to 4,569.78. The Dow dropped 41.06 points to 36,204.44, and the Nasdaq gave up 119.54 points to 14,185.49.


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Most of Wall Street slips following mixed data on the economy​

By STAN CHOE

Most stocks slipped on Wall Street Tuesday, but the market hung near its highest level in 20 months following a mixed set of reports that kept alive questions about whether the U.S. economy can pull off a perfect landing where it kills high inflation but avoids a recession.

The S&P 500 edged down by 2.60 points, or 0.1%, to 4,567.18 for its first back-to-back loss since October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 79.88, or 0.2%, to 36,124.56, and the Nasdaq composite rose 44.42, or 0.3%, to 14,229.91.

Stocks were down more sharply in Asia amid worries about the health of China’s economy, the world’s second largest.

On Wall Street, KeyCorp fell 3.7% and led a slump for bank stocks after it cut its forecast for income from fees and other non-interest income. But gains of more than 2% for Apple and Nvidia, two of the market’s most influential stocks, helped to blunt the losses.

U.S. stocks and Treasury yields wavered after reports showed that employers advertised far fewer job openings at the end of October than expected, while growth for services businesses accelerated more last month than expected.

Hope has been rising on Wall Street recently that the U.S. economy is slowing from its recently hot pace by just the right amount. Too much strength would give inflation more fuel, but too little would mean a recession.

With inflation down from its peak two summers ago, Wall Street is hopeful the Federal Reserve may finally be done with its market-shaking hikes to interest rates and could soon turn to cutting rates. That could help the economy avoid a recession and give a boost to all kinds of investment prices.

Investors have been looking for a slowdown in the job market in particular. The hope is that it can cool more through employers cutting back on open positions than on employers laying off lots of workers. Tuesday’s report showed that employers advertised just 8.7 million jobs on the last day of October, down by 617,000 from a month earlier.

It’s the lowest level since 2021, and the “data support our view that rates are at a peak and the Fed’s next move will be a rate cut” in the spring of 2024, said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

A separate report said that activity for U.S. services industries expanded for the 41st time in the last 42 months, with growth reported by everything from agriculture to wholesale trade. Strength there has been offsetting weakness in manufacturing.

In the bond market, Treasury yields continued to sag further from the heights they reached during late October.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 4.18% from 4.26% late Monday, offering more breathing space for stocks and other markets. It had been above 5% and at its highest level in more than a decade during October.

The yield on the two-year Treasury, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, went on a jagged run following the economic reports. It fell from 4.61% just before the reports’ release to 4.57% and then yo-yoed before easing back to 4.57%.

Traders widely expect the Federal Reserve to hold its key interest rate steady at its next meeting next week, before potentially cutting rates in March, according to data from CME Group.

Fed officials have recently hinted that the federal funds rate may indeed already be at its peak. It’s above 5.25%, up from nearly zero early last year. But Fed Chair Jerome Powell and others have also warned Wall Street about being overzealous in its predictions about how early a cut could happen.

Lower yields have been one reason prices for cryptocurrencies have been rising recently. Excitement about a possible exchange-traded fund tied to bitcoin, which would open it to new kinds of investors, has also helped send it above $43,000 recently.

The surge of interest helped Robinhood Markets report a roughly 75% jump in trading volumes for crypto during November from a month earlier. It also said customers added about $1.4 billion in net deposits during the month, and its own stock rose 10.3%.

On the losing end of Wall Street was Take-Two Interactive, which slipped 0.5% after a trailer for its highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto VI video game said it’s coming in 2025. That was later than some analysts expected.

In markets abroad, stocks sank 1.9% in Hong Kong and 1.7% in Shanghai after the Moody’s credit-rating agency said it may downgrade China’s rating. Its economic growth is slowing and facing mounting troubles from its real-estate industry.

Stocks also fell in Japan and South Korea but were mixed across Europe.


ASX 200 expected to rebound​


The Australian share market looks set to rebound on Wednesday despite a mixed night on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 27 points or 0.4% higher this morning.

Most stocks slipped on Wall Street Tuesday, but the market hung near its highest level in 20 months following a mixed set of reports that kept alive questions about whether the U.S. economy can pull off a perfect landing where it kills high inflation but avoids a recession.

The S&P 500 edged down by 2.60 points, or 0.1%, to 4,567.18 for its first back-to-back loss since October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 79.88, or 0.2%, to 36,124.56, and the Nasdaq composite rose 44.42, or 0.3%, to 14,229.91.

Stocks were down more sharply in Asia amid worries about the health of China’s economy, the world’s second largest.


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Wall Street slips as tumbling crude oil prices drag down energy stocks​

By STAN CHOE

Wall Street ticked lower Wednesday after another sharp slide for the price of crude dragged down oil-and-gas stocks.

The S&P 500 slipped 17.84, or 0.4%, to 4,549.34 for its third straight loss, locking in its longest losing streak since October. Each of those drops was modest, though, and the index remains near its best level in 20 months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 70.13, or 0.2%, to 36,054.43, and the Nasdaq composite lost 83.20, or 0.6%, to 14,146.71.

Energy stocks had the market’s worst drops by far. Halliburton sank 3.6%, and Marathon Oil fell 3.5% after crude oil touched its lowest price since June.

A barrel of benchmark U.S. crude tumbled roughly 4% as expectations build that the world has too much oil available for the global economy’s demand. It sank below $70, down more than $20 since September. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 3.8% to $74.30 per barrel.

Losses for Big Tech stocks, which are some of Wall Street’s most influential, also weighed on the market. Nvidia dropped 2.3%, and Microsoft lost 1%.

Helping to limit the market’s losses was a gain of 1.9% for homebuilder Toll Brothers, which reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It also said demand from buyers has remained solid so far in the current quarter, thanks in part to slightly easier rates available for mortgages.

Mortgage rates have regressed as Treasury yields have dropped on hopes that the Federal Reserve may finally be finished with its barrage of hikes to interest rates, meant to get high inflation under control. Wall Street is betting the Fed’s next move will be to cut rates, possibly as early as March, which would juice the economy and financial markets.

More reports arrived Wednesday that bolstered those hopes. The Federal Reserve’s next meeting on interest rates is in a week, and the widespread expectation is for it to leave its main interest rate alone at its highest level in more than two decades.

One report said private employers added fewer jobs last month than economists expected. While no one on Wall Street wants to see widespread layoffs, a cooldown in the job market could remove upward pressure on inflation.

A more comprehensive report on the job market from the U.S. government will arrive Friday, one that can cause big swings on Wall Street.

“What we don’t know is how much the markets have already priced in a slowing labor market, or how they will react if Friday’s data comes in stronger than anticipated,” said Chris Larkin, managing director, trading and investing at E-Trade from Morgan Stanley.

A separate report on Wednesday said U.S. businesses were able to increase the amount of stuff they produced in the summer by more than the total number of hours their employees worked. That stronger-than-expected gain in productivity more than offset increases to workers’ wages, and it could also keep a lid on inflationary pressures.

Treasury yields in the bond market were generally lower following the economic reports, and the 10-year yield fell to 4.11% from 4.17% late Tuesday. It was above 5% in October and at its highest level since 2007.

Within the S&P 500, Campbell Soup was the biggest winner and rose 7.1% after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than expected.

Travel-related companies were also strong as falling crude prices relieved some pressure on them. Carnival rose 5.9%, and Royal Caribbean Line gained 3.4%.

Airlines also flew higher. Delta Air Lines climbed 3.5% after it told investors it’s sticking to its forecasts for revenue and profit for the end of 2023. United Airlines rose 3.4%, and Southwest Airlines gained 3%.

On the losing end of Wall Street was Brown-Forman, the company whose brands include Jack Daniel’s whiskey. It fell 10.4% after reporting weaker earnings than analysts had forecast. It also cut its forecast for a measure of sales growth for the full year.

Shares of British American Tobacco sank 8.4% in London after the company said it will take a non-cash hit worth roughly 25 billion British pounds ($31.39 billion) to account for a drop in the value of its “combustible” U.S. cigarette brands. It’s moving toward a “smokeless” world, such as e-cigarettes.

Shares of Altria Group, which sells Marlboro cigarettes in the United States, fell 2.8%.

Wall Street could be setting itself up for disappointment if cuts to rates do not come as quickly as hoped. While Federal Reserve officials have hinted that their main interest rate may indeed be at a peak, some have said it’s too early to begin considering when cuts could come.

Stock markets abroad were mostly higher. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2% after a top central bank official reiterated the Bank of Japan’s will keep its monetary policy easy until it achieves a stable level of inflation.

Gains were more modest across the rest of Asia and Europe.


ASX 200 expected to fall​


The Australian share market looks set to open the day lower on Thursday following a losing night on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 34 points or 0.45% lower this morning.

Wall Street ticked lower Wednesday after another sharp slide for the price of crude dragged down oil-and-gas stocks.

The S&P 500 slipped 17.84, or 0.4%, to 4,549.34 for its third straight loss, locking in its longest losing streak since October. Each of those drops was modest, though, and the index remains near its best level in 20 months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 70.13, or 0.2%, to 36,054.43, and the Nasdaq composite lost 83.20, or 0.6%, to 14,146.71.


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Wall Street rises ahead of Friday’s jobs report to snap a 3-day losing streak​

By STAN CHOE

Wall Street rose Thursday to snap its first three-day losing streak since Halloween.

The S&P 500 climbed 36.25 points, or 0.8%, to 4,585.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 62.95, or 0.2%, to 36,117.38, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 193.28, or 1.4%, to 14,339.99.

Big Tech stocks helped power the market higher, led by a 5.3% leap for Google’s parent company, Alphabet. They’re Wall Street’s most influential stocks because of their massive size, and they have been on huge tears so far this year.

Cerevel Therapeutics also jumped 11.4% after AbbVie announced an $8.7 billion deal to buy the company and its pipeline of candidates for schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and other diseases. AbbVie added 1.1%.

Wall Street has rallied toward its best level since March 2022 largely on hopes that the Federal Reserve is finally done with its barrage of hikes to interest rates, which are meant to get high inflation under control. That has anticipation high ahead of a report on Friday, the U.S. government’s latest monthly update on the job market.

The Federal Reserve wants to see the job market slow by just the right amount. Too much weakness would mean people out of work and a possible recession, but too much strength could add upward pressure on inflation.

So far, anticipation is rising that the Federal Reserve can nail a perfect landing for the job market and overall economy. Inflation has been slowing since peaking two summers ago, and expectations are building that the Fed’s next move will be to cut interest rates next year.

A report on Thursday said that slightly more U.S workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, though the number is not alarmingly high and hit economists’ expectations exactly. That had both stock and bond markets relatively calm and waiting for Friday’s report, which could be more impactful.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.14% from 4.12% late Wednesday. It’s been generally easing since topping 5% in October and hitting its highest level since 2007.

The drop in the 10-year yield over the last month, including after accounting for inflation, is one of the reasons strategists at Goldman Sachs say the S&P 500 looks like it’s trading “roughly in line with fair value,” even after its nearly 9% rip higher through November. Expectations for a healthy economy have also helped boost stocks.

But the path ahead could travel down one of several forks, depending in part on how quickly inflation cools and whether the Fed does cut rates by as much as traders are expecting. Goldman Sachs says traders “are approaching the limits of what could plausibly” be expected for rate cuts without a recession hitting in the near term.

“We believe much of the optimistic scenario is already reflected in US equity prices today,” the strategists led by Ryan Hammond wrote in a report.

Since the Federal Reserve began its campaign early last year to drastically ramp up interest rates, traders have several times built up bets for an imminent halt to rate hikes and for potential cuts, only to be disappointed each time. While Federal Reserve officials have hinted recently their main interest rate may indeed be at a peak, some have said it’s too early to begin considering when cuts could come.

Hopes for easier rates help all kinds of investments, particularly those seen as the most expensive or promising big growth the furthest in the future. That’s helped send Big Tech stocks to their huge gains this year.

Alphabet’s jump on Thursday brought its gain for the year so far to just over 55%. A day earlier, it announced the launch of its Gemini artificial intelligence model. The announcement made few waves on Wall Street initially, and Alphabet’s stock slipped Wednesday, but analysts at JPMorgan said in a report they “are encouraged to see Google’s progress on this major technology shift.”

Alphabet was the single strongest force pushing the S&P 500 upward, but Apple, Amazon and Nvidia all also rose at least 1%.

Another winner was JetBlue Airways, which climbed 15.2% after it said it may report better results for the final three months of the year than it earlier expected. It also slightly lowered the top end of its forecast for fuel costs during the end of 2023.

Crude oil prices have been falling recently amid worries about demand from the global economy falling short of available supplies. The price for a barrel of benchmark U.S. crude slipped another 4 cents to settle at $69.34. It was above $93 in late September.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell 25 cents to $74.05 per barrel.

On the losing end of Wall Street, C3.ai tumbled 10.8% after reporting weaker revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

In stock markets abroad, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.8% in Tokyo amid speculation about whether the Bank of Japan will ease off its ultra-easy policy on interest rates.

Losses for stock indexes elsewhere in Asia and Europe were more modest.


ASX 200 expected to edge lower​


The Australian share market looks set to end the week in the red despite a strong session on Wall Street. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 15 points or 0.2% lower this morning.

Wall Street rose Thursday to snap its first three-day losing streak since Halloween.

The S&P 500 climbed 36.25 points, or 0.8%, to 4,585.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 62.95, or 0.2%, to 36,117.38, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 193.28, or 1.4%, to 14,339.99.

Big Tech stocks helped power the market higher, led by a 5.3% leap for Google’s parent company, Alphabet. They’re Wall Street’s most influential stocks because of their massive size, and they have been on huge tears so far this year.


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Wall Street hits 2023 high as it mulls whether economy is too warm or just right​

By STAN CHOE

Wall Street climbed back to its best level in 20 months on Friday following a stronger-than-expected report on the U.S. job market.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, enough to clinch a sixth straight winning week for the index, which is its longest such streak in four years. Wall Street’s main measure of health is now just 4% below its record set at the start of last year.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 130 points, or 0.4%, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.4%.

Yields rose more sharply in the bond market following the report, which said U.S. employers added more jobs last month than economists expected. Workers’ wages also rose more than expected, and the unemployment rate unexpectedly improved.

The strong data keep at bay worries about a possible recession, at least for a while longer, and stocks of some companies whose profits are closely tied to the strength of the economy rallied. Energy-related stocks had the biggest gain of the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500, rising 1.1% as oil prices strengthened amid hopes for more demand for fuel.

Carrier Global climbed 4.5% for one of the market’s bigger gains after it said it agreed to sell its security business, Global Access Solutions, to Honeywell for $4.95 billion.

But the worry on Wall Street is that the remarkably resilient job market could also end up giving inflation more fuel. That could push the Federal Reserve to either raise its main interest rate further or at least keep it at its highest level since 2001 for longer than expected.

That in turn could dilute the central hope driving the stock market recently: Inflation has come down enough from its peak two summers ago for the Fed to finally halt its hikes to interest rates and begin cutting them next year.

“The Fed is so afraid of ‘giving up before the job is done’ that it will err on the side of overdoing it,” said Brian Jacobsen, chief economist at Annex Wealth Management.

Overall, the job data looked decent, Bank of America economists said in a BofA Global Research report. They said the numbers back up their expectation “that economic activity will slow, not crash.”

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.22% from 4.15% late Thursday. It had been on a general decline and relaxing the pressure on stocks since topping 5% in October, when it reached its highest level since 2007.

The yield on the two-year Treasury, which more closely follows expectations for the Fed, rose to 4.72% from 4.60% as traders pulled back on bets for how many times the Fed could cut rates in 2024.

High rates and yields hurt all kinds of investments, and they pack a particularly hard punch on stocks seen as the most expensive or requiring their investors to wait a long time for big growth.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, slipped 1.4% and was the heaviest weight on the S&P 500. A day earlier, it had leaped amid excitement about the launch of its latest artificial-intelligence offering. Other Big Tech stocks were stronger, with Nvidia, Apple and Microsoft all rising.

Also on the losing end was RH. The home furnishings company slumped 14% after reporting weaker results for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 18.78 points to 4,604.37. The Dow added 130.49 to 36,247.87, and the Nasdaq climbed 63.98 to 14,403.97.

Friday’s jobs report is one of the last major pieces of data the Fed will get before it announces its next move on interest rates Wednesday. On Tuesday, the U.S. government will give the latest monthly update on how high inflation is for U.S. consumers.

The widespread expectation is still for the Fed to hold its main interest rate steady next week, according to data from CME Group. But traders are now betting on less than a 46% chance the Fed will have cut rates by March. That’s down from nearly 65% a day earlier.

A separate preliminary report on Friday offered more encouragement. It said that U.S. consumers’ expectations for inflation in the coming year dropped to 3.1% from 4.5% a month earlier, the lowest since March 2021. The Fed has said it pays attention to such expectations, fearing a rise could lead to a vicious cycle that keeps inflation high.

The preliminary report from the University of Michigan also said sentiment among consumers strengthened enough to erase all its declines from the prior four months, mainly because of improved expectations for inflation.

In the oil market, crude prices rose to recover some of their sharp losses in recent months. A barrel of benchmark U.S. oil gained $1.89 to settle at $71.23, though it’s still more than $20 below where it was in September. It’s been tumbling on worries that demand from the global economy won’t be strong enough to absorb all the world’s available supplies.

Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.79 to $75.84 per barrel.

In stock markets abroad, indexes were mostly higher in Europe and mixed in Asia. The Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.7% for a second straight drop amid speculation about whether the Bank of Japan will ease off its ultra-easy policy on interest rates.


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ASX 200 expected to rise​


The Australian share market looks set to open the week higher following a decent finish on Wall Street on Friday. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 16 points or 0.2% higher on Monday.
Wall Street climbed back to its best level in 20 months on Friday following a stronger-than-expected report on the U.S. job market.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4%, enough to clinch a sixth straight winning week for the index, which is its longest such streak in four years. Wall Street’s main measure of health is now just 4% below its record set at the start of last year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 130 points, or 0.4%, and the Nasdaq composite gained 0.4%.


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Wall Street ends higher ahead of the final Federal Reserve meeting of the year​

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA

Stocks on Wall Street finished modestly higher Monday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s final meeting of the year.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% after drifting between small gains and losses in the early going. The benchmark index finished at its highest level in 20 months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also added 0.4%, while the Nasdaq composite finished 0.2% higher.

The gains were broad among S&P 500 stocks, with technology, financial and health care among the big winners. Communications services stocks were the only laggard.

Cigna surged 16.7% for the biggest gain among S&P 500 stocks after the health insurer announced a $10 billion stock buyback, and the Wall Street Journal reported that the company is no longer pursuing a merger with Humana.

Macy’s jumped 19.4% following reports that an investor group is launching a bid to take the storied retailer private for $5.8 billion.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 18.07 points to 4,622.44. The Dow gained 157.06 points to 36,404.93 and the Nasdaq added 28.51 points to close at 14,432.49.

The latest gains, while muted, follow a six-week winning streak by the major stock indexes. The S&P 500 is up 20.4% for the year and the Nasdaq is up 37.9%.

Wall Street’s big focus this week will be updates on inflation at the consumer and wholesale levels, along with the Fed’s latest update on its interest rate policy.

On Tuesday, the government will release its November report on consumer inflation. Analysts expect the report to show that inflation continued slowing to 3.1% from 3.2% in October. On Wednesday, the government will release its November report on inflation at the wholesale level, which is also expected to show that the rate of inflation is easing.

The inflation data comes ahead of the Fed’s latest statement on interest rates Wednesday afternoon. The central bank is expected to hold its benchmark rate steady for a third consecutive time after spending much of 2022 and a large portion of 2023 aggressively raising rates to their highest levels in two decades.

Wall Street is overwhelmingly betting that the Fed will keep its benchmark interest rate at a range of 5.25% to 5.50% into early 2024 and could start cutting rates by the middle of that year. Analysts are also becoming more comfortable with the possibility that the central bank can pull off a “soft landing,” which refers to inflation easing under high interest rates without the economy falling into a recession.

“With inflation coming down faster than expected, it now appears likely that the Fed will refrain from additional rate hikes,” said Brian Rose, senior U.S. economist at UBS, in a note to investors. “At the same time, inflation is still too high and the labor market is still too tight for the Fed to consider cutting rates soon.”

Strong consumer spending and a solid jobs market have provided a bulwark to the broader economy, where growth has slowed but has so far avoided stalling. The government’s jobs report on Friday showed that U.S. employers added more jobs last month than economists expected. Workers’ wages also rose more than expected, and the unemployment rate unexpectedly improved.

The latest round of corporate earnings is mostly behind Wall Street and proved to be surprisingly good. Companies in the S&P 500 reported earnings growth of just under 5% during the third quarter, according to FactSet. That follows three straight quarters of earnings contractions.

Several big companies will report their earnings this week and are among the few remaining to release their results. Software company Adobe will report on Wednesday and Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants will release its results on Friday.

Treasury yields were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 4.23%.

Crude oil prices were stable.

Markets in Asia closed mostly higher, while markets in Europe ended mixed.


ASX 200 expected to rise​


The Australian share market is expected to edge higher again on Tuesday following a decent start to the week on Wall Street.

According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is poised to open the day 13 points or 0.15% higher.

Stocks on Wall Street finished modestly higher Monday ahead of the Federal Reserve’s final meeting of the year.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4% after drifting between small gains and losses in the early going. The benchmark index finished at its highest level in 20 months.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also added 0.4%, while the Nasdaq composite finished 0.2% higher.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 18.07 points to 4,622.44. The Dow gained 157.06 points to 36,404.93 and the Nasdaq added 28.51 points to close at 14,432.49.


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Wall Street hits its highest level since early 2022 following inflation report​

By STAN CHOE

Wall Street rose to its best level in nearly 23 months, just a bit below its record high, after a report on Tuesday showed inflation in the United States is behaving pretty much as expected.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.5% to sit just 3.2% below its all-time high set at the start of last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 173 points, or 0.5%, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.7%.

Big Tech stocks helped lead the way following solid gains for Nvidia, Meta Platforms and some other of Wall Street’s largest and most influential stocks. They overshadowed a 12.4% tumble for Oracle, whose revenue for the latest quarter fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

But Wall Street’s spotlight was on the inflation report, which showed U.S. consumers paid prices for gasoline, food and other living costs last month that were 3.1% higher overall than a year earlier. That was a slight deceleration from October’s 3.2% inflation and exactly in line with economists’ expectations.

The data likely changes nothing about what the Federal Reserve will do at its latest meeting on interest rates, which ends Wednesday. The widespread expectation is still for the Fed to keep its main interest rate steady.

The Fed has already yanked its main interest rate from virtually zero early last year to more than 5.25%, its highest level since 2001. It’s hoping to slow the economy and hurt investment prices by exactly the right amount: enough to stamp out high inflation but not so much that it causes a steep recession.

Recently rising hopes that the Fed can manage such an “immaculate” landing for the economy have helped stocks to rally and bets to rise that the Fed’s next move on interest rates will be to cut sometime in 2024, perhaps as early as March.

Cuts to interest rates can juice prices for stocks and other investments, while offering more oxygen for the overall economy and financial system.

Following the inflation report, traders were betting on a nearly 42% chance that the Fed will cut rates by March, according to data from CME Group. But a minority are also still betting on the possibility that rates could stay high for longer than expected.

Seema Shah, chief global strategist at Principal Asset Management, pointed to a slight acceleration in inflation when looking at how prices changed from October into November rather than from a year earlier.

“Simply put,” she said, “this isn’t enough inflation deceleration to reassert or justify the market’s policy easing expectations,” particularly when the job market remains solid.

Other analysts and investors said they expect Fed Chair Jerome Powell to use the numbers to try in his press conference on Wednesday to push against traders’ conviction that rate cuts will come in the early part of 2024. Powell himself has already recently said it’s too early to consider when cuts could arrive.

In the bond market, Treasury yields were mixed following the inflation data. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 4.20% from 4.24% late Monday.

The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for action from the Fed, held steady at 4.71%.

On Wall Street, Choice Hotels International fell 1.9% after it said it’s taking its buyout offer for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts directly to its rival’s shareholders. Choice already owns 1.5 million shares of Wyndham, whose board has cited concerns about value and regulatory approval while rebuffing Choice in the past.

Toymaker Hasbro slipped 1.1% after it announced additional job cuts as part of its cost-cutting program.

On the winning side of Wall Street, Centene rose 2.8% for one of the bigger gains in the S&P 500. The managed care company gave a forecast for earnings in 2024 that topped analysts’ expectations, and it also authorized a program to buy back up to $4 billion more of its stock.

Icosavax soared 49.5% after AstraZeneca said it would buy the biopharmaceutical company for at least $838 million in cash, with the price tag rising if certain milestones are met.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 21.26 to 4,643.70. The Dow added 173.01 to 36,577.94, and the Nasdaq gained 100.91 to 14,533.40.

In stock markets abroad, indexes held relatively steady in Europe and mostly rose in Asia.

The FTSE 100 in London was virtually unchanged after the Office for National Statistics reported a sharp slowdown in growth for wages. That could help weigh on inflation and shape the Bank of England’s upcoming decision on interest rates Thursday.

Crude oil prices fell to take some more pressure off inflation. A barrel of benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.71 to settle at $68.61. It had been above $93 in September but has been coming down amid worries about demand from the global economy failing to keep up with available supplies.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell $2.79 to $73.24 per barrel.


ASX 200 expected to edge marginally lower​

The Australian share market looks set for a subdued session on Wednesday despite a solid night on Wall Street.

According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 1 points lower this morning.

Wall Street rose to its best level in nearly 23 months, just a bit below its record high, after a report on Tuesday showed inflation in the United States is behaving pretty much as expected.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.5% to sit just 3.2% below its all-time high set at the start of last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 173 points, or 0.5%, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.7%.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 21.26 to 4,643.70. The Dow added 173.01 to 36,577.94, and the Nasdaq gained 100.91 to 14,533.40.


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bigdog

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Dow hits a record as Wall Street rallies after the Fed signals rate cuts in 2024​

By STAN CHOE

A powerful rally across Wall Street sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated that the cuts to interest rates investors crave so much may be coming next year.

The Dow jumped 512 points, or 1.4%, to top 37,000 and surpass its prior peak of 36,799.65 set at the start of last year.

Other, more widely followed indexes of U.S. stocks also leaped. The S&P 500 rose 1.4% and is within 2% of its own record. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.4%.

Wall Street loves lower interest rates because they can relax the pressure on the economy and goose prices for all kinds of investments. Markets have been rallying since October amid rising hopes that cuts may be on the way.

Rate cuts particularly help investments seen as expensive, lower quality or forcing their investors to wait the longest for big growth. Some of Wednesday’s bigger winners were bitcoin, which rose nearly 4%, and the Russell 2000 index of small U.S. stocks, which jumped 3.5%.

Apple was the strongest force pushing upward on the S&P 500, rising 1.7% to its own record close. It and other Big Tech stocks have been among the biggest reasons for the S&P 500’s 22.6% rally this year.

All the excitement came as the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held its main interest rate steady at a range of 5.25% to 5.50%, as was widely expected. It’s hiked that rate up from virtually zero early last year in hopes of slowing the economy and hurting investment prices by exactly the right amount: enough to snuff out high inflation but not so much that it causes a painful recession.

With inflation down sharply from its peak two summers ago and the economy still solid despite high interest rates, hopes have been rising that the Fed can pull off that perfect landing. And in a press conference Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said its main interest rate is likely already at or near its peak.

While acknowledging that inflation is still too high and the battle against it is not over, Powell said Fed officials don’t want to wait too long before cutting the federal funds rate, which is at its highest level since 2001.

“We’re aware of the risk that we would hang on too long” before cutting rates, he said. “We know that’s a risk, and we’re very focused on not making that mistake.”

That’s why Wall Street’s focus was squarely on the projections that the Fed released showing where policy makers see the federal funds rate ending 2024. They showed the median official expects it to be at roughly 4.6%.

While that implies a less steep cut than many traders on Wall Street are expecting, it’s more than the median Fed official was predicting three months ago.

Following the release of the projections, traders on Wall Street upped their bets for rate cuts in 2024. A majority of bets now expect the federal funds rate to end next year at a range of 3.75% to 4% or lower, according to data from CME Group.

Treasury yields tumbled in the bond market on such bets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 4.01% from 4.21% late Tuesday. It was above 5% in October, at its highest level since 2007. The two-year yield, which moves more on expectations for the Fed, sank to 4.43% from 4.73%.

They both had already been down earlier in the morning, after a report showed prices at the wholesale level were just 0.9% higher in November than a year earlier. That was softer than economists expected.

Such drops in yields and rallies for stocks, though, may be threatening to undo the very future they’re banking on, according to more cautious investors.

Lower yields in the bond market make it easier for U.S. households to get a cheaper mortgage and for U.S. businesses to borrow money to expand. Rising stock prices, meanwhile, give stock-owning households more wealth. All that could put upward pressure on inflation, which could eventually force the Fed to actually hike rates again, warned Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

He also says it’s unlikely the Fed will cut rates as many times as traders are expecting in 2024 unless there’s a recession. He is expecting the U.S. economy to fall into a moderate recession early next year.

“We think it’s going to take a recession to cure that last leg of inflation” and ensure it falls all the way down to the Fed’s 2% target, Samana said.

On Wall Street, Vertex Pharmaceuticals jumped 13.2% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported encouraging data from a study for a potential pain treatment for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

That helped offset a 6.7% loss for Pfizer, which gave a revenue forecast for 2024 that was weaker than analysts expected. Much of the shortfall was due to expectations for its COVID-19 vaccine and treatment.

Southwest Airlines lost 3.8% after it raised its forecast for how much it will spend on fuel costs during the end of 2023.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 63.39 points to 4,707.09. The Dow added 512.30 to 37,090.24, and the Nasdaq gained 200.57 to 14,733.96.

In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed in Europe and Asia.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3% after a report from the Bank of Japan showed business sentiment among major manufacturers improved.

Stocks fell more sharply elsewhere in Asia, including a 1.2% drop in Shanghai and a 0.9% decline in Hong Kong, as worries continue about the strength of China’s economy, the world’s second-largest.


ASX 200 expected to rise​


The Australian share market looks set to open the day higher on Thursday following a strong night on Wall Street.

According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 79 points or 1.1% higher this morning.

A powerful rally across Wall Street sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve indicated that the cuts to interest rates investors crave so much may be coming next year.

The Dow jumped 512 points, or 1.4%, to top 37,000 and surpass its prior peak of 36,799.65 set at the start of last year.

Other, more widely followed indexes of U.S. stocks also leaped. The S&P 500 rose 1.4% and is within 2% of its own record. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.4%.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 63.39 points to 4,707.09. The Dow added 512.30 to 37,090.24, and the Nasdaq gained 200.57 to 14,733.96.


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Wall Street Rises Again as the Dow Ticks to Another Record​


Most of Wall Street rose Thursday following its big rally from the day before on excitement that several cuts to interest rates may indeed be coming next year.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to pull within 1.6% of its all-time high set early last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 158 points, or 0.4%, to set a record for a second straight day, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%.

Moderna jumped 9.2% after reporting encouraging data from a study of its treatment for high-risk melanoma that’s used with Merck’s Keytruda. That helped offset a 6.3% slump for Adobe, which gave a forecast for 2024 revenue that fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Stocks have been broadly shooting higher since October on hopes that inflation has cooled enough for the Federal Reserve to not only stop its market-rattling hikes to interest rates but to even begin considering cutting them. Those hopes strengthened Wednesday after the Fed held its main interest rate steady and said the federal funds rate is likely at or near its peak.

More importantly, the Fed released projections showing its median official expects the federal funds rate to fall next year by more than earlier expected. Wall Street loves lower interest rates because they can goose prices for investments and relax the pressure on the economy and financial system.

Other central banks also met this week, and hopes are rising that the pivot toward easier conditions for financial markets and the economy may become global. Both the European Central Bank and Bank of England decided to keep their main interest rates unchanged on Thursday, though each gave signals that cuts are not imminent.

Treasury yields sank further in the bond market as traders bet on a series of cuts to U.S. interest rates coming in 2024.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 3.91% from 4.03% late Wednesday. It was above 5% in October, at its highest level since 2007, and the sharp drop since then has given the stock market a big boost.

Owners of office parks, hotels and other real estate, which benefit from lower interest rates, were some of Thursday's bigger winners. Real-estate stocks rose 2.6% for one of the best gains among the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500 index, including a 7.2% jump for Boston Properties.

Banks were also strong. High interest rates have hurt the industry's players a rung or two in size below the behemoth banks and helped cause three high-profile collapses earlier this year. Lower interest rates could ease the pressure.

Zions Bancorp, Fifth Third Bancorp, Comerica and Regions Financial all jumped more than 8%.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 12.46 points to 4,719.55. The Dow gained 158.11 to 37,248.35, and the Nasdaq climbed 27.59 to 14,761.56.

But the recent rally for stocks and drop for Treasury yields seem to be banking on the Federal Reserve pulling off what was considered a long shot not long ago.

The hope is that the Fed can manage its interest-rate policy exactly right: first, by slowing the economy and hurting investment prices enough through high interest rates to snuff out high inflation, and then by making conditions easier at the right time to prevent the economy from slowing too much and sliding into a painful recession.

That’s still not assured, as both Fed officials and cautious investors are warning.

One threat is that the economy stays too hot, which would keep upward pressure on inflation and could force the Fed to keep rates high for longer than expected.

A couple reports on Thursday indicated the economy may be stronger than economists had forecast. One showed U.S. shoppers spent more at retailers in November than October, when economists were forecasting a decline. Another report said fewer U.S. workers applied for jobless benefits last week, a signal of a resilient job market.

Treasury yields briefly undid some of their declines following the reports. But traders are still betting on a high probability that the Federal Reserve will cut its main interest rate by at least 1.50 percentage points next year, according to data from CME Group. That’s double what the median Fed official is expecting.

“Our view is that the market is pricing too fast a pace of cuts,” said Solita Marcelli, chief investment officer America at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Critics have said the amount of rate cuts that traders are expecting is unlikely unless the U.S. economy falls into a recession.

In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed across Europe and Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 slumped 0.7% as hopes for U.S. rate cuts drove the value of the dollar down against the yen. That can hurt Japanese exporters.


ASX 200 expected to rise

The Australian share market looks set to end the week on a positive note despite a mixed session on Wall Street.

According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open 48 points or 0.7% higher this morning.

Most of Wall Street rose Thursday following its big rally from the day before on excitement that several cuts to interest rates may indeed be coming next year.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% to pull within 1.6% of its all-time high set early last year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 158 points, or 0.4%, to set a record for a second straight day, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 12.46 points to 4,719.55. The Dow gained 158.11 to 37,248.35, and the Nasdaq climbed 27.59 to 14,761.56.


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