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Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks finish higher for fourth straight session ahead of inflation reading for August


U.S. stocks finished with a fourth consecutive day of gains on Monday, handing the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite their longest winning streak in two months, as traders prepare for August’s inflation data to show signs of easing price gains.

How stocks traded

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended up by 229.63 points, or 0.7%, at 32,381.34, after rising 352 points at its session high.

The S&P 500

closed up by 43.05 points, or 1.1%, at 4,110.41.

The Nasdaq Composite

finished up by 154.10 points, or 1.3%, to 12,266.41.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq had their longest streak of gains since the four-day periods that ended on July 7 and July 8, respectively, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

On Friday, the major indexes snapped a streak of three straight weekly declines. The Dow posted a 2.7% weekly rise, while the S&P 500 rose 3.7%, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 4.1%.

What drove markets

The upbeat mood from the last handful of days carried over into Monday’s session, which included positive stock-index closes in Europe.

The latest equity rebound, with the S&P 500 up 5.2% since last Tuesday’s close, suggests investors now appear comfortable with the prospect of a 75 basis point interest rate rise by the Federal Reserve at the conclusion of its meeting on Sept. 21.

There is also hope among bulls that the August U.S. consumer prices report due Tuesday will show a negative reading month-on-month, helping cement expectations that inflation has peaked and the Fed is unlikely to hike borrowing costs beyond the 4% level currently priced by markets. Producer prices data will be released on Wednesday.

Read: Inflation is slowing, U.S. August CPI to show, but not enough to mollify a worried Fed

Beyond the August data, year-over-year inflation readings appear set to continue declining as commodity prices and other elements level off, said Tom Plumb, portfolio manager of the Plumb Balanced Fund, in a phone interview.

“As we see year-over-year inflation come down closer to target, I think we will have less hawkish Fedspeak and that will be seen as positive for the market,” he said.

That said, predicting whether stocks are in a bear market bounce or have begun a sustaining recovery is one of the most difficult things to do, Plumb added. “We believe there’s a fair probability” the market has started a recovery, he said.

See: Traders see inflation falling for rest of 2022, but that likely won’t end Fed rate hikes or market volatility

Market sentiment was bolstered by not just optimism about Tuesday’s CPI data, but developments in Europe, where Ukraine was making progress in its counteroffensive against Russia.

“There are probably a couple of reasons to be bullish in the medium and longer term,” said Peter Azzinaro, an investment executive for Convera in Chicago. “One is that there’s a feeling we are getting closer to peak inflation. Positioning was probably a little overdone on the negative outcomes for inflation and we’re seeing a big correction on that.”

In addition, “geopolitical risks overall were on the top of mind for everybody and we are starting to see an ease on that front,” he said via phone on Monday.

Jonathan Krinsky, chief market technician at BTIG, noted that technical factors have helped sentiment, but that gains may prove fragile given seasonal headwinds and if the dollar and bond yields do not continue to retreat.

“Bears fumbled on the goal line as they tried to break under 3,900 last week, but the game is not over yet. We see downside risk as we head into the seasonally weak second part of September. While the dollar and rates paused their ascent, there was no reversal and 10-year real rates actually closed at fresh 52-week highs,” said Krinsky.

Monday’s risk-on tone extended to currencies, where the dollar pulled further back from recent highs. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index

was off 0.6%. Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury yield

was up 4 basis points at 3.36%.

Check out: Stock-market wild card: What investors need to know as Fed shrinks balance sheet at faster pace and Most investors think the next big move for the S&P 500 will involve a near 20% drop, says Deutsche Bank survey

Companies in focus

Investment-banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

is planning to lay off hundreds of staff as early as next week, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Shares finished up by 0.7%.

Twitter Inc.

said on Monday that Elon Musk’s latest argument for terminating his $44 billion acquisition of the social-media platform was invalid. Twitter shares closed down by 1.9%.

Activist investor Dan Loeb signaled on Sunday through Twitter that he is backing off his push to persuade Walt Disney Co.

to spin off its popular sports television network ESPN. Disney shares finished up by 1.1%.

Airbnb Inc. 

is on track for its longest winning streak on record, according to the Dow Jones Market Data team. The stock has gained for nine of the past 10 sessions. Airbnb shares finished up by 1.1%.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

finished up by 3.1% after the company said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Sotyktu, which the drugmaker described as the first innovation in oral treatment for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in nearly 10 years.

— Jamie Chisholm contributed to this article.

Hear from Ray Dalio at the Best New Ideas in Money Festival on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 in New York. The hedge-fund pioneer has strong views on where the economy is headed.

Second Home Market: South Lake Tahoe in August

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