Wall Street Edges Higher Wednesday 11/29 10:56
Stocks edged higher in morning trading on Wall Street Wednesday following
some encouraging updates from U.S. companies, including General Motors.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks edged higher in morning trading on Wall Street
Wednesday following some encouraging updates from U.S. companies, including
The S&P 500 rose 0.1%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18 points, or
0.1%, to 35,437 as of 11:31 a.m. Eastern. The Nasdaq gained 0.1%.
General Motors surged 9.4%. The company announced a big stock buyback,
raised its dividend and told investors it won't have any trouble absorbing the
costs of its new labor contract. The stock is still struggling overall and
remains down about 6% for the year, while the S&P 500 is up more than 18% in
GM and its rivals agreed to new contracts with the United Auto Workers and
Canadian auto workers in late October following strikes that lasted more than a
Ford rose 2.6% and Jeep maker Stellantis rose 5.6%.
Technology companies were behind much of the gains following several strong
financial updates. NetApp jumped 15% after easily beating analysts' forecasts
for earnings in its latest quarter and raising its outlook for the year.
TurboTax maker Intuit rose 3.1% and software maker Workday gained 11.1%
following encouraging results and forecasts.
Treasury yields fell, taking more pressure off of stocks. The yield on the
10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, slipped to 4.28% from 4.33%.
The yield on the 2-year Treasury fell sharply to 4.65% from 4.75%.
Stocks rose in Europe and were mixed in Asia.
On the losing end, Spam maker Hormel foods fell 4.1% after giving investors
a weak profit forecast.
Wall Street also received an encouraging economic update. The U.S. economy
grew at a brisk 5.2% annual pace from July through September, the government
reported Wednesday, an upgrade from its previous estimate of 4.9%.
Consumer spending, the lifeblood of the economy, rose at a 3.6% annual rate
from July through September. That's still healthy, but a downgrade from the
previous estimate of 4%. The report follows an encouraging survey on consumer
confidence released Tuesday.
The broader economy has remained resilient partly because of strong consumer
spending, despite lingering pressure from inflation. Wall Street will be
closely watching retailers as they move through the important holiday shopping
season. A record 200.4 million consumers shopped online and in stores over the
holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.
Sneaker and athletic apparel retailer Foot Locker rose 16.2% after reporting
strong third-quarter earnings and giving investors an encouraging update on its
financial forecast. Several other big retailers also gained ground. Nike rose
1.8% and Lululemon Athletica rose 1.2%.
Investors will get another key economic update on Thursday when the
government releases its October data on the Federal Reserve's preferred measure
of inflation. Economists expect that measure to continue easing, as it has been
since the middle of 2022. The Federal Reserve will meet again in December to
update its interest rate policy.
Wall Street expects the Fed to keep its benchmark interest rate steady and
is betting that it is finished hiking rates, which remain at their highest
levels in two decades. The central bank has said it will base future rate
decisions on the latest economic data, though recent statements from officials
have boosted hopes that the most aggressive round of rate hikes is at an end.
Christopher Waller, a member of the Fed's Board of Governors, signaled
Tuesday that the central bank is likely finished raising rates and could cut
rates as early as spring. Wall Street is betting that the Fed will start
cutting rates by the middle of 2024.