Wall Street Edges Up Following Last Week’s Volatility

Wall Street

U.S. stocks saw modest gains on Monday, rebounding after a turbulent end to the previous week that saw them shy away from record highs.

By midday trading, the S&P 500 had climbed 0.3%, bouncing back from a series of swings that saw a 1.2% decline quickly turn into a 1.1% gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 62 points, or 0.2%, as of 11 a.m. Eastern time, while the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.4%.

Much attention has been on interest rates and speculation surrounding potential moves by the Federal Reserve to alleviate pressure on the economy and financial markets. Reports indicating sustained inflation and robust economic performance have led Wall Street to revise expectations for rate cuts.

This week brings several key events that could influence market sentiment. On Wednesday, the latest inflation data reflecting consumer experiences will be released. Additionally, reports on wholesale inflation and expectations for future inflation among U.S. households are expected later in the week.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has reiterated expectations for rate cuts this year but emphasized the need for confirmation that inflation is trending toward the central bank’s target of 2%. With interest rates currently at their highest level in over two decades, the Fed aims to temper economic activity and stabilize prices, albeit at the risk of triggering a recession if rates remain elevated for too long.

Some Fed officials have hinted at the possibility of prolonged high rates should inflation persist, prompting traders to revise down expectations for rate cuts this year. Market sentiment now reflects roughly a 50% chance of a rate cut at the Fed’s June meeting, down from over 70% a month ago.

Rate cuts typically ease borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, driving demand for stocks and other investments. Despite reduced expectations for rate cuts, U.S. stocks have held near record levels on optimism about continued economic growth and corporate earnings prospects.

This optimism has broadened market gains beyond the dominant Big Tech stocks of previous years. Energy sector stocks in the S&P 500 have surged approximately 16.5% this year, fueled by expectations of improved profitability amid rising energy prices.

While some analysts remain cautious about lofty stock valuations, others anticipate sustained economic expansion coupled with cooling inflation. The upcoming earnings reporting season, starting this week, will provide further insight into corporate performance and market dynamics.

In international markets, European and Asian stocks mostly rose, though Shanghai stocks fell by 0.7%.

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About the author: Stephanie Bedard-Chateauneuf has over six years of experience writing financial content for various websites. Over the years, Stephanie has covered various industries, with a primary focus on tech stocks, consumer stocks, health stocks, and personal finance. This stock lover likes to invest for the long-term. Stephanie has an MBA in finance.