The Wall Street stock index was mixed Tuesday afternoon as investors took a close look at the encouraging financial results of most major retailers.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Wall Street stock index showed mixed results as investors closely examined the financial outcomes of major retailers. The S&P 500 Index dropped by 0.1 percent by 3:11 p.m. ET, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 0.5 percent to 34,096 points.
However, the Nasdaq Index fell by 0.5 percent. Wal-Mart shares increased by 5.5 percent, and Home Depot rose by 4.2 percent, both announcing better-than-expected results, which significantly boosted the Dow index. On the other hand, technology, health care, and energy companies experienced losses as shares of Broadcom, Moderna, and Marathon Oil fell by 1.5%, 4.9%, and 1.3%, respectively. Retailers, consumer goods makers, and banks experienced solid gains, but smaller companies fell, with the Russell 2000 Index down by 0.2%. Bond yields rose, with the 10-year Treasury bond yield up to 2.82% from 2.79% late Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil prices fell by 3.2%, and Asian markets closed mixed overnight, while European markets generally rose.
The recent government report on consumer prices indicated that inflation was virtually unchanged from June through July. However, rising prices on everything from food to clothing could end up undermining consumer spending, which is the primary engine of economic growth, causing concerns among investors.
The Commerce Department is set to release its retail sales report for July on Wednesday, which will provide more information on the retail sector’s performance. Economic experts polled by Factset predict a modest 0.2 percent increase from June, when sales rose 1 percent. Investors are keeping a close watch to understand the impact of inflation on businesses and consumers and to gauge how the Federal Reserve will respond.
The central bank aims to slow economic growth and curb inflation by raising interest rates. Investors hope for signs that inflation is peaking or falling, allowing the Federal Reserve to ease its aggressive policy of raising rates. According to CME’s FedWatch tool, investors currently expect a half-point rate hike at the Fed’s upcoming August meeting.