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Stock market today: Wall Street inches higher early as markets try to close out another winning week

Mar 14, 2024, 11:57 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2024, 5:28 am

Wall Street posted small gains in early trading Friday as markets try to close out another up-and-down week on the positive side.

Futures for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each rose less than 0.2% before the bell.

Markets have bounced around between small gains and losses this week on a series of mixed economic data.

One report showed inflation was a touch hotter at the wholesale level last month than economists expected. It’s the latest in a string of data on inflation that’s been worse than forecast, which has kept the door closed on earlier hopes that the Federal Reserve could start cutting interest rates at its meeting next week.

Other reports released Thursday also showed some softening in the economy, which kept alive hopes that the long-term trend for inflation remains downward and that the Fed will cut rates three times this year, starting in June.

Fed officials will give their latest forecasts for where they see interest rates heading this year on Wednesday, following their latest policy meeting.

In off-hours equity trading, software maker Adobe tumbled 11.2% after it gave tepid guidance even though it beat Wall Street’s sales and profit targets.

It was a similar story for Ulta Beauty, the cosmetics retailer, which topped analysts’ sales and profit forecasts but issued guidance that left investors wanting. Its shares slid 7.2% before the bell Friday.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX rose 0.4%, the FTSE 100 in London was up less than 0.1% and in Paris, the CAC 40 jumped 0.6%.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 38,707.64.

Shares in automakers Honda and Nissan rose ahead of the announcement that the two companies will collaborate in electric vehicles and auto intelligence technology. Honda Motor Co. gained 1.7% while Nissan Motor Co. was up 3.2%.

In South Korea, the Kospi sank 1.9% to 2,666.84.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 1.4% to 16,720.89 after reports said housing prices have continued to fall since February. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.3% to 3,054.64.

China’s market watchdog announced that regulators will tighten standards for listing companies.

“There is still a gap between the quality of listed companies and the requirements for high-quality economic and social development and the expectations of investors,” the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a notice online.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.6% to 7,670.30.

In the bond market, Treasurys leveled off somewhat after Thursday’s rise, with the 2-year holding at 4.69% and the 10-year coming back down to 4.27% from 4.29%.

In other trading early Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 47 cents to $80.79 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 45 cents to $84.97 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 148.67 Japanese yen from 148.32 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0891 from $1.0884.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Dow industrials lost 0.4%. The Nasdaq composite finished down 0.3%.

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Stock market today: Wall Street inches higher early as markets try to close out another winning week