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Wall St edges higher after mixed data, eyes on Fed


Wall Street’s main indexes posted modest gains on Friday as investors assessed a mixed bag of economic data and on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will opt for a 50-basis point rate hike at its policy meeting next week.

U.S. stocks opened lower after data showed producer prices rose slightly more than expected in November amid a jump in the cost of services, but the trend is moderating, with annual inflation at the factory gate posting its smallest increase in 1-1/2 years.

“It is disappointing and it shows that we are stuck on the treadmill of inflation and I’m not surprised to see the market sell-off like it is right now,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield.

On the other hand, consumer sentiment improved in December, while inflation expectations eased to a 15-month low, a University of Michigan survey showed.

Bets that the Fed will raise its policy rate by 50 basis points to 4.25%-4.50% next week were largely unchanged following the numbers.

Consumer prices data for November, due Tuesday, will provide fresh clues on the central bank’s monetary tightening plans.

“The focus will be on where the Fed stops its peak interest rate cycle … if we do see a recession, we could even see a pivot and maybe even interest rate cuts later next year,” said Brian Klimke, director of investment research at Cetera Financial Group.

Wall Street’s main indexes were set to log weekly losses, after gaining for two weeks, on fears of a potential recession next year due to extended U.S. rate hikes and following downbeat commentary from top company executives.

U.S. stocks snapped a recent run of losses on Thursday after data showed initial jobless claims rose modestly last week, suggesting the labor market was deteriorating.

At 11:52 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 58.83 points, or 0.17%, at 33,840.31, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 12.82 points, or 0.32%, at 3,976.33, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) was up 52.33 points, or 0.47%, at 11,134.33.

Eight out of 11 major S&P 500 (.SPX) sector indexes gained, led by 0.8% gains in technology stocks (.SPLRCT).

The energy index (.SPNY) was on track to post its seventh straight session of losses, its longest losing streak since December 2018, as oil prices looked set for weekly losses on concerns about a recession.

Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) gained 5.9% after Wells Fargo upgraded the streaming giant’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight”.

Broadcom Inc (AVGO.O) inched up 3.5% after the chipmaker forecast current-quarter revenue above Wall Street estimates.

Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) tumbled 12.3% after the athletic apparel maker forecast lower-than-expected holiday-quarter revenue and profit.

Boeing Co gained 1.4% on a report of plans to announce a deal with United Airlines (UAL.O) for orders of 787 Dreamliner next week.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.06-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded five new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and 135 new lows.

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