Stock market today: Wall Street inches down ahead of inflation report closely watched by Fed

Feb 28, 2024, 11:19 PM | Updated: Feb 29, 2024, 5:20 am

Wall Street is poised to open with modest losses Thursday but still on track for a winning February despite a down week at the finish.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.3% lower before the bell Thursday.

Though earnings season isn’t over, the vast majority of companies have reported quarterly results and the government’s latest inflation update will draw most of the attention on Thursday.

The Commerce Department’s report on consumer spending before markets open contains a measure of inflation that is closely watched by the Federal Reserve. The U.S. central bank has recently paused hiking its key lending rate after raising it to a 22-year high in an effort to corral inflation. Analysts forecast that year-over-year inflation ticked down in January to 2.3% from December’s 2.6%. The Fed’s target is 2%.

Also due Thursday is the Labor Department’s weekly layoffs report.

Processed food maker Hormel jumped nearly 5% in premarket after it breezed past Wall Street’s first-quarter profit targets.

Even though it nearly doubled analysts’ fourth-quarter profit projections, the cloud-computing company Snowflake tumbled more than 22% in off-hours trading after a surprise announcement that CEO Frank Slootman was retiring effective immediately. Slootman will be replaced by Sridhar Ramaswamy.

Artificial intelligence software maker jumped 15.4% after it beat sales forecasts and only lost half as much money per share as Wall Street was expecting. The California tech company’s revenue grew 18% year-over-year, boosted by an even bigger jump in subscriptions.

In midday trading in Europe, Germany’s DAX and Britain’s FTSE 100 each added 0.4%, while the CAC 40 in Paris was down less than 0.1%.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index closed 0.1% lower at 39,166.19 after data showed factory output falling in January at the fastest pace since May 2020, although retail sales were stronger than expected.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 16,511.44 and the Shanghai Composite index jumped 1.9% to 3,015.17. The smaller index in Shenzhen surged 3.4% after regulators released new measures to support markets including closer oversight of financial derivatives.

But technology services company Baidu was down 6.6% after reporting its profit fell 48% in the October-December quarter due to higher spending as it strives to keep up with rivals in the artificial intelligence field.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4% to 2,642.36 while the S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 7,698.70. Bangkok’s SET lost 0.4% and the Sensex in India was up 0.1%.

Bitcoin was trading at $62,513.00 early Thursday after breaching $64,000 briefly on Wednesday.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 11 cents to $78.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, was down 6 cents at $82.09 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar fell to 150.02 Japanese yen from 150.69 yen. The euro ticked down to $.0833 from $1.0834.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 slipped 0.2%,continuing its quiet and listless run since setting a record last week. The Dow industrials dipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite sank 0.5%, a day after pulling within 0.1% of its record set in 2021.


Associated Press

Treason trial of Russian American woman opens as tensions rise between Washington and Moscow

MOSCOW (AP) — The trial of a Russian American dual citizen whom Russia accuses of treason opened on Thursday as tensions rise between Washington and Moscow, including over the arrests of two American journalists. The trial is being held behind closed doors in Yekaterinburg, in the same court that next week is to begin hearing […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian stocks mostly lower after US markets were closed for Juneteenth

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stocks mostly fell Thursday in thin trading after U.S. markets were closed Wednesday in observance of Juneteenth. U.S. futures and oil prices were mixed. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index edged 0.1% higher to 38,324.10. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong shed 0.5% to 18,336.76. The Hang Seng tech index retreated 1.4%, […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Alberto, season’s first named tropical storm, dumps rain on Texas and Mexico, which reports 3 deaths

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto rumbled toward northeast Mexico early Thursday as the first named storm of the season, carrying heavy rains that left three people dead but also brought hope to a region suffering under a prolonged, severe drought. Mexican authorities downplayed the risk posed by Alberto and instead pinned their hopes […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Putin signs deals with Vietnam in bid to shore up ties in Asia

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a series of deals with his Vietnamese counterpart To Lam on Thursday, during a state visit that comes as Moscow is seeking to bolster ties in Asia to offset growing international isolation over its military actions in Ukraine. The two signed agreements to further cooperation on […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

US chipmaker onsemi will invest $2 billion in a chip production facility in the Czech Republic

PRAGUE (AP) — The U.S. chipmaker onsemi is planning a multi-year investment of up $2 billion in its production facility in the Czech Republic, the company and the Czech government said on Wednesday. The government said the money will be invested in the company’s existing production facility in the eastern Czech town of Roznov pod […]

20 hours ago

Associated Press

Alberto, season’s first named tropical storm, dumps rain on Texas and Mexico, which reports 3 deaths

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto formed Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of what is forecast to be a busy hurricane season. Authorities in Mexico reported three deaths from its rains. Alberto, which is bringing strong winds, heavy rainfall and some flooding along the coasts of Texas and […]

21 hours ago

Stock market today: Wall Street inches down ahead of inflation report closely watched by Fed