NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks mostly rose in afternoon Wall Street trading on Tuesday as investors cautiously weighed mostly promising financial results from major retailers.
The S&P 500 was up 0.3% as of 12:03 pm ET. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 241 points (0.7%) to 34,153, while the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.
Walmart jumped 5.9% after the nation’s largest retailer reported a strong performance that easily beat analyst expectations. Home Depot also jumped 5.3% after reporting better-than-expected results. Profits from both companies have done a lot of the heavy lifting for Dow.
Retailers and consumer goods manufacturers posted solid profits, along with banks and industrial companies. Tech stocks fell, capping some of the broader market gains. Chip maker Nvidia fell 0.7%.
Bond yields rose. Yields on 10-year government bonds rose to 2.84% from 2.79% late Monday.
US oil prices fell 2.5%. European markets edged higher and Asian markets closed in a chaos last night.
Consumers are facing the heaviest inflation in 40 years, and retailers’ latest results show spending remains strong. Wall Street worries that rising prices for everything from food to clothing could ultimately stifle consumer spending, a key driver of economic growth. Investors will get an update on the retail sector this week when Target reports its results on Wednesday.
The Department of Commerce releases its retail sales report for July on Wednesday. Economists surveyed by FactSet said he expects sales to grow by just 0.2% from June, when he increased by 1%.
The retailer’s report is the latest in corporate earnings that have been watched closely by investors trying to gauge the impact of inflation on businesses and consumers, while trying to gauge how the Federal Reserve will react. Central banks are raising interest rates to slow economic growth and keep inflation in check, but they risk hitting the brakes too hard and sending the economy into recession.
Investors are looking for signs that inflation has peaked or is declining in hopes that the Fed can ease its aggressive rate hike policy. The central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point in July. On Wednesday, Wall Street will get more details on the process behind that decision when the Fed releases the minutes of its meeting.
Investors are now expecting a 0.5-point gain at the Fed’s upcoming meeting in August, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool.
Stocks hit a one-and-a-half-year high in July and continued their winning streak into August, partly on hopes that inflation would ease. The latest government report on consumer prices showed that inflation essentially stalled in June and July.
Still, trading is choppy, with key indicators swinging between gains and losses throughout the day.
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