US stocks up slightly as inflation data still weighs

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished modestly higher on Wednesday (Sept 14), regaining some of the ground lost in the prior session, though with the impact of disappointing US inflation data still reverberating through the markets.

“Early gains for US equities moderated in late-day action, but stocks were able to finish modestly higher, with yesterday’s surprising consumer price inflation report remaining an overhang,” Charles Schwab analysts said.

All three indices wavered throughout the day, but ultimately ended in positive territory. They all failed to meaningfully recover ground lost in Tuesday’s carnage, which wrought their largest percentage plunges in more than two years.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30.12 points, or 0.1%, to 31,135.09, the S&P 500 gained 13.32 points, or 0.34%, to 3,946.01 and the Nasdaq Composite added 86.10 points, or 0.74%, to 11,719.68.

“Today is a lick-your-wounds day, after taking body blows yesterday,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group in Omaha, Nebraska. “It’s a day of rest and that’s somewhat of a welcome sign.”

The consumer price index report on Tuesday showed widespread inflation pressures, even though the annual CPI pace slowed in August.

That drove steep losses in equities, and data on Wednesday showing only a modest slowing in the producer price index due to falling energy costs did little to ease immediate concerns.

The disappointing inflation data has left investors bracing for the Federal Reserve to continue its tough anti-inflation fight with another massive interest rate hike next week.

Among individual companies, Starbucks closed up 5.5% after announcing plans to enhance its US stores and upgraded its revenue and profit outlook over the next three years.

Meanwhile Union Pacific dropped 3.7% as a major strike by US freight railroad workers loomed this weekend, with negotiations ongoing.

Tesla Inc bounced back from Tuesday’s drop, advancing 3.6% on the same day President Joe Biden announced US$900 million in funding for electric vehicle charging stations.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.05-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.06-to-1 ratio favored decliners. – AFP, Reuters