Stocks edged higher Wednesday, with the focus on consumer inflation data that could derail the Federal Reserve’s next policy decision.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was up about 0.1%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) jumped 0.3%. The Nasdaq Composite ( ^IXIC ) was 0.5% higher after retreating more than 1% in the previous session.
August’s Consumer Price Index report showed higher-than-expected inflation last month, with headline prices rising 0.6% month-on-month and 3.7% year-on-year. The tension was caused by the recent rally in energy prices.
The data represents the last inflation print the Fed will get before its meeting next week and is one of the most important data points for policymakers to decide whether to keep interest rates on hold for longer.
WTI crude (CL=F) and Brent (BZ=F) oil prices rose on Wednesday, trading at 10-month highs. That could put pressure on stocks and hamper the Fed’s efforts to slow inflation.
Eyes are still on the Blockbuster arm’s IPO, with investors expected to price the offering on Wednesday, which will begin in New York on Thursday. The SoftBank-backed British chip designer has opted to accept support from the top of its range ($47-$51 a share) or higher, Reuters sources said.
Apple has been in the spotlight since it launched the iPhone 15 and China on Wednesday announced “security issues” with its smartphones. Officials have denied that China is moving to limit iPhone use by government departments and state-owned companies following reports that helped drive a slide in Apple’s stock.
At the same time, the EU has launched an investigation into China’s subsidies to its EV makers to fend off cheap imports. Auto stocks in Europe initially rallied after the announcement, but lost ground on rising China tensions.
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