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Market Snapshot: Dow trades in record territory, S&P 500 hits 4,100 as stock-market tries to shake off delayed inflation report

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading in record territory early Friday and the S&P 500 briefly touched a milestone above 4,100 as the broader market digested a delayed report on U.S. producer prices that rose more than forecast, reviving fears of inflation.

The main U.S. equity indexes are all headed for weekly gains.

How are stock benchmarks faring?
  • The Dow
    DJIA,
    +0.18%

    rose 122 points, or 0.4%, to 33,628.
  • The S&P 500 index
    SPX,
    +0.13%

    rose by about 3 points, or 0.1%, to 4,100, after setting an intraday record peak at 4,100.47 and hitting a milestone above 4,100.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index
    COMP,
    -0.10%

    declined 70 points, or 0.5%, to 13,755.17.

On Thursday, the Dow added 57.31 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 33,503.57, the S&P 500 rose 17.22 points to reach at a record at 4,097.17, a gain of 0.4%, while the Nasdaq finished 140.47 points, or 1%, higher at 13,829.31, within 2% of its Feb. 12 record high/

What’s driving the market?

The Dow and S&P 500 were aiming for records, but technology stocks were under pressure early Friday after a delayed key U.S. economic report revealed inflation may be hotter than expected as the economy rebounds from the pandemic and bond yields rose as a result.

The U.S. producer price index rose 1% in March, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday.  Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.5% rise. The rate of wholesale inflation over the past 12 months climbed to 4.2% in March. That’s the highest level since September 2011.

The data come as investors are keenly attuned to the possibility of a surge in inflation in the aftermath of COVID.

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, in a Friday interview, said that any rise in inflation will be transitory, noting that the Fed’s forecast is that inflation will move above 2% for a time this year and “for inflation to return later this year to around 2%.”

“We would expect those to be transitory and as the year progresses and we go into next year, if they’re not, then we’ll have to take that into account certainly,” Clarida said on Bloomberg TV.

Stock-market investors this week have been mostly taking cues from the Fed and trading near record levels, as the central bank underscores its intention to not remove its easy money policies until the jobs market achieves a full recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday advocated stepping up the rate of vaccinations globally and said that the lack of vaccinations abroad poses a threat for the U.S.’s economic progress.

“Viruses are no respecters of borders, and until the world really is vaccinated we’re all going to be at risk of new mutations,” Powell said at a seminar on the global economy hosted by the Intertional Monetary Fund. “I would look at global vaccination as a risk really…to the progress that we are making.”

A projection of future interest rates by Fed officials implies that the central bank will hold key interest rates near 0% through at least 2023.

Stock buying has reverted to technology stocks this week after a rotation into beaten-down in value stocks that are seen outperforming as the economy rebounds from COVID.

Some analysts said that the market’s moves on Friday could be subject to profit-taking after a healthy weekly run-up. For the week, the S&P 500 is on track for a 1.9% gain, the Dow is headed for a weekly gain of 1.1%, and the Nasdaq was aiming for a 2.6% weekly gain, as of Thursday’s close. The S&P 500 and the Dow are headed for their third straight weekly gain.

 “We see mixed a market as investors take profits after a series of S&P record highs,” wrote Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.  

Investors may get some insights from an initial reading of wholesale inventories due at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Boeing Co.
    BA,
    -1.65%

    said it has flagged a potential electrical issue in certain 737 MAX aircraft, asking 16 customers to address it before further operations.
  • Shares of Naked Brand Group LtdNAKD soared 20.0% in active premarket trading, after the New Zealand-based apparel and swimwear company disclosed that Ault Global Holdings Inc.
How are other assets faring?
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.2% at 92.273.
  • U.S. crude CL.1, for May delivery
    CLK21,
    -0.69%

    fell 19 cents per barrel, or 0.4%, to trade at $59.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y rose 3.8 basis points to 1.68%. Bond prices move inversely to yields.
  • Gold futures fell, with the June contract GCM21 sinking $19.60, or 1.1%, at $1,739.40 an ounce on Comex, pulling back from a six-week peak.
  • In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index SXXP gained 0.1%, and London’s FTSE 100 UKX was down 0.3%, as Prince Philip—active patron of business organizations and consort to Queen Elizabeth II—has died at 99.
  • In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP finished 0.9% lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI closed down 1.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK closed up 0.2%.

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