Stock market today: Wall Street edges higher, looking to extend winning streak

Stocks turned slightly higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Friday as investors look to extend the market’s longest winning streak in a year.

© (Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)
A currency trader passes by the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), top center, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won, top right, at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, June 16, 2023. Asian shares logged moderate gains on Friday after Wall Street benchmarks swept higher, extending their longest rally in a year and a half. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) ((Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press))

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% after wobbling between small gains and losses earlier in the day. The benchmark index is headed for its sixth consecutive weekly gain and is trading at the highest level it’s been at since April 2022.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21 points, or 0.1%, to 34,431 as of 1:54 p.m. Eastern. The Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

Wall Street faces a relatively quiet day to cap off a busy week of economic updates.

Software maker Adobe rose 2.2% after reporting solid financial results and raising its profit forecast. Humana slipped 4.1% after becoming the latest health insurer to warn about pent-up demand for medical services driving costs higher. Health insurance giant UnitedHealth issued a similar warning earlier in the week.

Treasury yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.76% from 3.72% late Thursday.

The yield on the two-year Treasury, which moves more on expectations for the Federal Reserve, rose to 4.73% from 4.65%. The

The Fed held steady on its benchmark interest rate at its meeting this week, but warned that it could raise rates twice more this year. The central bank’s next meeting will run from July 25-26 and Wall Street is betting that it will raise rates. Traders are also mostly convinced that will be the last increase of the year, according to data from CME group.

The Fed raised interest rates 10 times straight since 2022. Its goal has been to cool inflation without causing a recession by slowing the economy too much.

“The idea that the Fed is pausing and taking time to see what the cumulative effect is on the economy from a policy standpoint, is the right move for them,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

The Fed’s latest meeting was preceded on Tuesday by a report showing that inflation continued cooling in May. A closely watched survey on Friday from the University of Michigan showed that consumer sentiment is stronger than expected in June and there was a slight decrease in expectations for inflation over the next five years.

Overall, investors contended with a mixed batch of economic updates this week. Sales at U.S. retailers unexpectedly strengthened in May. The relatively strong employment market showed some signs of weakening as slightly more workers applied for unemployment last week than expected. The manufacturing industry, meanwhile, continued contracting under the impact of higher interest rates.

Wall Street has also been closely monitoring the latest statements from companies to get a better sense of where the economy is headed. Analysts have been warning of a potential recession this year, but the economy has so far been strong enough to resist. Several industries, though, have been warning about waning demand that could linger through the year.

Chemical company Cabot slumped 9% after it said soft demand worldwide, and especially in China, will hurt profits this year.

Markets in Europe and Asia gained ground.

Investors have a considerably quieter week ahead, with just a few economic updates on the housing market. U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday in observance of Juneteenth.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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