Stocks closed mixed on Monday as investors braced for a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve this week. The nation’s central bank is expected to raise interest rates sharply to combat inflation. The S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose slightly, led by energy, utilities, and financial shares. The S&P 500 was up 5.21 points, or 0.13%, to 3,966.84. The Dow rose 90.75 points, or 0.28%, to 31,990.04. The Nasdaq Composite fell 51.45 points, or 0.43%, to 11,782.67. Technology stocks were the biggest drag on the S&P 500 Monday, the AP reports. World Wrestling Entertainment jumped 8.4% following CEO Vince McMahon's Friday retirement amid an investigation into alleged misconduct.
The major indexes are coming off solid gains last week following a mix of mostly better-than-expected reports on corporate profits. Falling yields in the bond market also helped, easing the pressure on stocks after expectations for rate hikes by the Fed sent yields soaring much of this year. On Wednesday, most economists expect the Fed to announce a three-quarter percentage point hike in its short-term rate, a second consecutive hefty increase that it hasn’t otherwise implemented since 1994. It would put the Fed’s benchmark rate in a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, the highest since 2018.
The US economy is slowing, but healthy hiring shows it isn't yet in recession, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. She spoke ahead of the release this week of a slew of economic reports that will shed light on an economy currently besieged by rampant inflation as interest rates rise. Some early signs suggest that inflation may be cooling down from red-hot levels. Auto club AAA said on its website as of Monday that the average price of a gallon of regular gas is $4.36 per gallon. That’s down 16 cents from a week ago, and 55 cents cheaper than late June. Corporate earnings reporting picks up later this week when technology heavyweights like Apple, Meta, Microsoft, and Amazon all deliver quarterly results. (Read more stock market stories.)