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Wednesday, October 13, 2021 5:00 pm

Modest gain breaks a 3-day losing streak for S&P 500 index

DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA | Associated Press

 

Stocks ended another day of choppy trading modestly higher Wednesday, enough to break a three-day losing streak for the S&P 500. The benchmark index rose 0.3%. Strength in technology stocks helped push the Nasdaq up 0.7%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended little changed. Delta Air Lines fell 5.8%, the most in the S&P 500, after warning that higher fuel and labor costs could affect its profitability going forward. Bank stocks had some of the biggest losses. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.54% even after the government reported another jump in consumer prices last month.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Major stock indexes were mostly higher on Wall Street in choppy trading Thursday afternoon as investors reviewed earnings and inflation data.

The S&P 500 was up 0.2% as of 3:34 p.m. Eastern, recovering from an early 0.5% slide. The benchmark index is coming off three straight declines, but remains on pace for a weekly loss of 0.7%.

All but one of the S&P 500's 11 sectors were in the green, with technology and communication accounting for a big share of the gains. A mix of companies that rely on consumer spending also helped lift the market. Banks stocks fell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially flat, while the Nasdaq rose 0.6%.

Banks were among the heaviest weights on the market. JPMorgan Chase fell 2.7% after its latest earnings showed that the bank struggled to grow revenues with interest rates at near-zero levels. Falling bond yields also weighed on the sector, which relies on higher yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans. American Express fell 3.3% and Capital One Financial dropped 3.2%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.54% from 1.58% late Tuesday.

Industrial stocks were evenly split between gainers and losers after recovering from an early dip. Delta Air Lines shed 6% after warning investors that rising fuel prices will challenge its ability to remain profitable. It also forecast higher labor costs. United Airlines fell 3.9% and American Airlines slid 3.3%.

The latest update on inflation was mostly taken in stride. Consumer prices rose 5.4% in September from a year ago, matching the highest rate since 2008. The figure is slightly higher than economists expected. A wide range of businesses have been dealing with supply chain disruptions and delays amid rising demand for goods, and many have warned that will increase costs and crimp their financial results.

“There’s a lot of nervousness and anxiety about inflation right now," said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “We're going to see a lot of volatility and shifts in leadership; that's just part of the transition period we're in.”

Many companies have been raising prices to offset higher shipping and raw materials costs. Analysts are concerned that higher prices could stall consumer spending, the key driver for economic growth. The latest report from the Labor Department showed that the costs of new cars, food, gas, and restaurant meals all jumped in September.

Investors will get more data on consumer spending on Friday when the Commerce Department reports retails sales for September.

More big banks are scheduled to release earnings this week. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will follow with their latest quarterly results on Thursday. Corporate earnings reports will ramp up after this week and analysts have said that might help show investors a clearer path ahead in what has been a choppy market.

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