Wall St muted ahead of data-heavy week

Wall Street's main indexes have been muted, with investors gearing up for two crucial inflation reports during the week for clues on the interest-rate cut outlook, while Nvidia surpassed Amazon in market value for the first time in two decades.

Nvidia crossed above Amazon.com in market capitalisation, as the euphoria around artificial intelligence catapulted the chipmaker to the fourth-most valuable US company. Their shares were up 0.5 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

Megacaps with greater exposure to AI have spearheaded a Wall Street rally, also riding on hopes of imminent rate cuts and an up bt outlook from businesses.

The latest milestone in a four-month rally among Wall Street's main indexes was the S&P 500 closing above the psychological 5,000-point level on Friday. The Nasdaq briefly surpassed the 16,000 mark for the second straight session on Monday, bringing it closer to its all-time high hit in November 2021.

"We are at hefty levels and the real question out there is how much longer can this market continue to rally without any new serious catalyst on the way," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities.

"We'll begin to shift towards the macro news with CPI that could set the stage whether the market continues to rally."

Traders await January's Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) this week to determine the timeline for monetary policy easing this year. Other data through the week also include industrial production, retail sales and preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment.

With growing data reflecting a robust economy, central bankers have effectively pushed back against traders' bets for early rate cuts. The odds for at least a 25-basis-point rate reduction in May have dropped to 61 per cent, from over 95 per cent at the start of 2024, as per the CME FedWatch Tool.

Remarks from Federal Reserve officials including Richmond President Thomas Barkin and Minneapolis chief Neel Kashkari, scheduled through the day, will be scrutinised for any hints on the timing for rate cuts.

At 9:51 am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 21.04 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 38,692.73, the S&P 500 was up 1.20 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,027.81, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 5.72 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 15,996.38.

Among other movers, Diamondback Energy jumped 7 per cent, helping energy to top the 11 S&P 500 sectors with a 0.8 per cent gain, after announcing a $26-billion deal to buy the largest privately held oil and gas producer in the Permian basin, Endeavour Energy Partners.

Citigroup slipped 0.8 per cent after Reuters reported US regulators have asked the lender for urgent changes to how it measures default risk of trading partners and its own auditors have found a plan to improve internal oversight to be lacking.

Joby Aviation gained 3.5 per cent as the electric-powered aircraft maker signed an agreement to launch air taxi services in the Emirate by early 2026.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.18-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.36-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 93 new highs and 13 new lows.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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