Stocks climbed again Monday as Wall Street made its final moves ahead of a high-stakes report that will hopefully show inflation hammered the economy less hard last month. The S&P 500 rose 43.05 points, or 1.1%, to 4,110.41 for its fourth straight gain. That's its longest winning streak since July, in the early days of the market's bounce back from its battering earlier in the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 229.63 points, or 0.7%, to 32,381.34, and the Nasdaq composite rallied 154.10 points, or 1.3%, to 12,266.41. The vast majority of stocks rose. Energy producers were close to the top of the leaderboard, benefiting from climbing oil prices.
The nation’s punishingly high inflation, and the steps the Federal Reserve is taking to combat it, have been the driving forces on Wall Street all year. Economists expect a report on Tuesday to show that prices for consumers were 8.1% higher in August than a year earlier, but that inflation was not as bad as July’s 8.5% rate. the AP reports. A slowdown would bolster hopes that inflation topped out in June at 9.1% and is on its way back down. That in turn could allow the Federal Reserve to avoid a worst-case scenario for markets, where it jacks short-term interest rates up to recession-causing levels and holds them there for a long time.
Beyond Tuesday’s headliner report on inflation at the consumer level, a report on Wednesday is expected to show inflation slowed at the wholesale level last month. A report on Thursday will show how US households have altered their spending amid high inflation, while a Friday report will show how much inflation households are preparing for in upcoming years. They’re all crucial data points for the Federal Reserve as it mulls how much to raise interest rates at its meeting next week. Fed officials have loudly reaffirmed recently their plans to raise rates high enough to slow the economy, plus their commitment to keeping rates high for long enough to ensure the job is done on inflation.
(Read more stock market