US Stocks Close Higher on Choppy Trade 08/18 15:42
Another day of choppy trading on Wall Street ended with modest gains for
stocks Thursday and the benchmark S&P 500 barely back into the green for the
(AP) -- Another day of choppy trading on Wall Street ended with modest gains
for stocks Thursday and the benchmark S&P 500 barely back into the green for
The S&P 500 rose 0.2% after shifting between small gains and losses for much
of the day. It's now up 0.1% for the week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a 0.1% gain, while the Nasdaq rose
0.2% as technology companies gained ground.
Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market, sending the Russell 2000
index 0.7% higher.
The choppy trading for stocks follows a four-week winning streak for the S&P
500. Investors remain concerned about stubbornly hot inflation and its impact
on consumers and businesses. Financial results from big retailers and economic
updates throughout the week have shown that the economy remains under pressure
from inflation but has several pockets of resiliency.
"The market is looking for direction and it seems people are caught between
the idea of slowing economic growth and slowing inflation," said Chris
Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance.
The S&P 500 rose 9.70 points to 4,283.74, while the Dow added 18.72 points
to 33,999.04. The Nasdaq gained 27.22 points to 12,965.34, and the Russell 2000
added 13.41 points to 2,000.73.
Technology companies had some of the strongest gains. Cisco Systems rose
5.8% after reporting solid financial results.
Energy stocks also climbed as U.S. crude oil prices rose 2.7%. Devon Energy
Department store Kohl's fell 7.7% after issuing a disappointing financial
Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which affects mortgage
rates, slipped to 2.87% from 2.90% late Wednesday.
Bed Bath & Beyond fell 19.6% after investor Ryan Cohen proposed selling his
entire stake in the struggling retailer.
Slightly fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week,
according to the Labor Department, as the labor market continues to stand out
as one of the strongest segments of the U.S. economy. The solid update on the
employment market follows an encouraging report on Wednesday that showed retail
sales remain solid despite the hottest inflation in four decades.
Investors have been closely watching the Federal Reserve for any reaction to
shifts in inflation or the economy. The central bank has been raising interest
rates in an effort to slow the economy and cool inflation, but Wall Street is
concerned it could slam the brakes too hard and veer into a recession instead.
Any sign that inflation is peaking or cooling has given Wall Street hope
that the Fed could consider easing up on rate hikes. It raised its benchmark
interest rate by three-quarters of a point for a second-straight time during
its meeting in July and is expected to raise the rate by a half-percentage
point at its upcoming meeting.
The minutes from last month's meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers showed
that policymakers expected the economy to expand in the second half of 2022,
though many suggested that growth would weaken as higher rates take hold. The
Fed intends to continue raising rates enough to slow the economy.
Wall Street continues monitoring potential trade issues between the U.S. and
China after the U.S. government said it will hold trade talks with Taiwan in a
sign of support for the island democracy that China claims as its own
territory, prompting Beijing to warn that it will take action if necessary to
"safeguard its sovereignty."