After Inflation Report, Stocks Hit Highest Level Since Early 2022

Wall Street closes just below record high
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2023 3:43 PM CST
Wall Street Closes Just Below Record High
A Christmas tree stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec. 11, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Wall Street rose to its highest level since early 2022 on Tuesday, just a bit below its record high, after a report showed inflation in the United States is behaving pretty much as expected.

  • The S&P 500 rose 21.26 points, or 0.5%, to 4,643.70.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 173.01 points, or 0.5%, to 36,577.94.
  • The Nasdaq composite rose 100.91 points, or 0.7%, to 14,533.40.
Treasury yields were mixed after the November update on inflation roughly matched economists' expectations. Traders still expect the Federal Reserve to stand pat on interest rates when it announces its next move Wednesday afternoon. The report did cast some doubt on when rates may come down.

Big Tech stocks helped lead the way following solid gains for Nvidia, Meta Platforms, and some other of Wall Street's largest and most influential stocks, the AP reports. They overshadowed an 12.4% tumble for Oracle, whose revenue for the latest quarter fell short of analysts' forecasts. Icosavax also jumped 49.5% after AstraZeneca said it would buy the biopharmaceutical company for at least $838 million in cash, with the price tag rising if certain milestones are met.

But Wall Street's spotlight was on the inflation report, which showed U.S. consumers paid prices for gasoline, food and other living costs last month that were 3.1% higher than a year earlier. That was a slight deceleration from October's 3.2% inflation and exactly in line with economists' expectations. The data likely changes nothing about what the Federal Reserve will do at its latest meeting on interest rates, which ends Wednesday. The widespread expectation is still for the Fed to keep its main interest rate steady. But following the inflation report, traders were betting on a nearly 42% chance of a cut happening by March, according to data from CME Group.

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On Wall Street, Choice Hotels International fell 1.9% after it said it's taking its buyout offer for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts directly to its rival's shareholders. Choice already owns 1.5 million shares of Wyndham, whose board has cited concerns about value and regulatory approval while rebuffing Choice in the past. Toymaker Hasbro slipped 1.1% after it announced additional job cuts as part of its cost-cutting program. On the winning side, Centene rose 2.8% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500. The managed care company gave a forecast for earnings in 2024 that topped analysts' expectations, and it also authorized a program to buy back up to $4 billion more of its stock.

(More stock market stories.)

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