December 7, 2023

Brad Marolf

Business & Finance Wonders

S&P 500 closes higher after another lighter-than-expected inflation report, Nasdaq jumps 1.4%

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Stocks resumed their inflation-driven rally on Tuesday after another report signaled that price increases could be slowing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 56.22 points, or 0.17%, at 33,592.92. The S&P 500 advanced 0.87% to 3,991.73, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1.45% to close at 11,358.41.

The major averages rallied after the producer price index, a measure of wholesale inflation, showed a 0.2% increase for the month of October, versus the consensus estimate for a 0.4% increase from Dow Jones. The report comes after last week’s consumer price index data showed signs of inflationary pressure abating last month, sparking a sharp rally.

“The PPI read certainly adds more fuel to the fire for those who feel we may finally be on a downward inflation trend,” said Mike Loewengart, head of model portfolio construction at Morgan Stanley’s Global Investment Office. “The market embraced last week’s consumer downtick and today’s initial reaction seems to be more of the same.”

The peak-inflation narrative is gaining traction, but the bar for a Fed pivot is still high, said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird.

“There will be trepidation at the central bank given their credibility concerns and desire to avoid the mistakes of the 1970s (i.e., stop and start policy that prolonged the inflationary spell),” he said. “But the crumbs are already being laid for a deceleration in pace of tightening heading into 2023.”

The Dow and S&P briefly dipped into the red in afternoon trading, after crude oil prices moved higher suddenly. Oil prices later eased from those highs.

Stocks ended higher for the third day in the last four, and all of the major averages are on pace for monthly gains. The Dow is up 2.6% for the month of November. The S&P and Nasdaq have gained about 3.1% and 3.4%, respectively.

Elsewhere, retail stocks also lifted investor sentiment. Walmart shares jumped after the company beat Wall Street earnings and revenue estimates and boosted full-year guidance. Home Depot also reported strong results but kept guidance in place for the full year. Its shares rose 1.6%.

“Retail earnings are off to a pretty decent start, and could serve to reinforce the broader narrative of consumer resilience and labor market tightness,” Mayfield said. “Earnings are critically important from here… the pace and breadth of the earnings deceleration (or re-acceleration) should determine the next leg for equities.”

Taiwan Semiconductor, Louisiana-Pacific and Paramount also jumped after regulatory filings showed that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had bought new positions in the first two, and raised its stake in the last.

Earnings season continues this week with retail reports from Target, Lowe’s, Bath & Body Works, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Foot Locker on deck.

Lea la cobertura del mercado de hoy en español aquí.