Nasdaq, S&P 500 Reach New Record Highs But Dow Edges Lower

After ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line, the major U.S. stock indexes are turning in another mixed performance during trading on Tuesday.

While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have risen to new record intraday highs, the narrower Dow is adding to the modest loss posted on Monday.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 59.22 points or 0.3 percent at 18,462.96 and the S&P 500 is up 10.90 points or 0.2 percent at 5,583.75, but the Dow is down 92.72 points or 0.2 percent at 39,252.07.

The mixed performance on Wall Street comes as traders digest Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the Senate Banking Committee.

Powell told the committee more good data would strengthen the central bank’s confidence inflation is moving sustainably toward its 2 percent target and lead to a potential interest rate cut.

“The Committee has stated that we do not expect it will be appropriate to reduce the target range for the federal funds rate until we have gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent,” Powell said in prepared remarks.

“Incoming data for the first quarter of this year did not support such greater confidence,” he continued. “The most recent inflation readings, however, have shown some modest further progress, and more good data would strengthen our confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent.”

Powell’s remarks come as a report released by the Commerce Department late last month showed the annual rate of growth by core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, slowed to 2.6 percent in May from 2.8 percent in April.

On Thursday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its report on consumer price inflation in the month of June.

Economists expect the annual rate of consumer price growth to slow to 3.1 percent in June from 3.3 percent in May, while the annual rate of core consumer price growth is expected to hold at 3.4 percent.

The Fed Chair also warned of the risk that leaving interest rates at an elevated level for too long could jeopardize economic growth.

“In light of the progress made both in lowering inflation and in cooling the labor market over the past two years, elevated inflation is not the only risk we face,” Powell said. “Reducing policy restraint too late or too little could unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, contributing to the relatively lackluster performance by the broader markets.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged by 2.0 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has slumped by 1.4 percent, the German DAX Index is down by 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground following recent strength. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.6 basis points at 4.314 percent.

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RTT Staff Writer
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