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U.S. Stocks Close Little Changed But Dow Extends Winning Streak

Stocks saw modest strength throughout much of the trading session on Tuesday but gave back ground in afternoon trading to end the day little changed. The Dow still managed to close higher for the fifth consecutive session, reaching its best closing level in a month.

The major averages ended the day narrowly mixed. While the Nasdaq edged down 16.69 points or 0.1 percent to 16,332.56, the Dow crept up 31.99 points or 0.1 percent to 38,884.26 and the S&P 500 inched up 6.96 points or 0.1 percent to 5,187.70.

The modest strength seen for most of the stock came as stocks continued to benefit from renewed optimism about the outlook for interest rates.

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Relatively dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell combined with weaker-than-expected job growth in April have largely eliminated short-lived concerns the Fed might actually consider raising rates.

Investors have instead grown increasingly confident about a rate cut in the coming months, with the chances rates will be lower by September now at 89.1 percent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.

However, buying interest waned in afternoon trading after Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari suggested interest rates may need to remain at current levels for an “extended period.”

“I would need to see multiple positive inflation readings suggesting that the disinflation process is on track” before cutting rates, Kashkari said before the Milken Institute 2024 Global Conference.

Kashkari also said he could not rule out the Fed once again raising rates, calling the bar for hiking rates “quite high” but “not infinite.”

Among individual stocks, shares of Disney (DIS) fell sharply even though the entertainment giant reported better than expected fiscal third quarter earnings.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lackluster close by the broader markets.

Airline stocks showed a substantial move to the downside, however, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index tumbling by 2.7 percent.

Considerable weakness also emerged among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent loss posted by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.

On the other hand, utilities stocks turned in a strong performance on the day, driving the Dow Jones Utility Average up by 1.3 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.6 percent and South Korea’s Kospi surged by 2.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index crept up by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index shot up by 1.4 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 1.0 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved modestly higher, extending the upward trend seen over the past several sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, dipped 2.6 basis points to 4.463 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading on Wednesday may be impacted by reaction to the latest earnings news, with several well known companies due to report their quarterly results.

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