Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on October 27, 2022 in New York City. Stocks continued their upward gains Thursday with the Dow rising nearly 400 points following a new GDP report that beat expectations.
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Stocks rose Wednesday as traders assessed the release of cooler-than-expected data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 167 points higher, or 0.5%. The S&P 500 climbed 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite was little changed.
The March consumer price index came in cooler than expected, showing a rise of 0.1% in March. Economists polled by Dow Jones were expecting CPI to rise by 0.2% month over month.
“It is encouraging because it shows the direction is the way the Fed wants it to go, but I don’t think it’s enough to cause the Fed to stop raising rates,” said CFRA’s Sam Stovall. “Our belief is that they will raise by 25 basis points at the May meeting, but certainly has now put on the table the possibility the Fed will no longer be raising rates after that May meeting.”
To be sure, investors were hesitant to sound the all-clear on inflation as some concerns on that front persisted.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting showed officials feared that the economy could tilt into a mild recession later this year in the wake of the U.S. banking crisis.
“Given their assessment of the potential economic effects of the recent banking-sector developments, the staff’s projection at the time of the March meeting included a mild recession starting later this year, with a recovery over the subsequent two years,” read the meeting summary on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said that, while peak inflation may be behind the U.S., “we still have a ways to go.”
Later in the week, the health of the U.S. economy and consumer will be put to the test as first-quarter earnings season kicks into full gear. Banking behemoths JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup are on deck, as well as health-care giant UnitedHealth.