Wall Street holds near records as it coasts to another winning month and quarter

Wall Street holds near records as it coasts to another winning month and quarter


Wall Street holds near records as it coasts to another winning month and quarter

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are holding relatively steady Thursday as Wall Street coasts into the close of its latest winning month and quarter.

The S&P 500 was 0.1% higher in midday trading after setting an all-time high the day before. It’s roared roughly 10% in this year’s first three months. The only quarter that’s been better in the last two years was the one that came just before.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1 point, or less than 0.1%, as of 11 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was virtually flat. Both are also close to their records.

The stock market has been on a nearly unstoppable run since late October, with the S&P 500 heading for its fifth straight winning month. It’s leaped as the U.S. economy has remained remarkably solid despite high interest rates meant to get inflation under control. And with inflation hopefully still cooling from its peak, the Federal Reserve has indicated it will likely cut interest rates several times later this year.

Conditions in financial markets could be shaky Thursday, though, as mutual funds and other big institutional investors look to make their last moves before they close their books on the first quarter.

The bond market will close early in the afternoon. Both it and the U.S. stock market will be closed on Friday for Good Friday.

In the bond market, Treasury yields held relatively steady following a couple reports on the economy. One said that the U.S. economy’s growth in the final three months of last year was stronger than earlier estimated. Another one said fewer U.S. workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, the latest indication of a solid job market.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury was holding at 4.19%, where it was late Wednesday. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, rose to 4.60% from 4.57%.

The hope on Wall Street is still for the Federal Reserve to begin cutting its main interest rate in June. But progress on bringing inflation down has become bumpier recently, with reports this year coming in hotter than expected.

A top official at the Fed, Gov. Christopher Waller, said in a speech late Wednesday that “there is no rush to cut the policy rate” given such data. “Indeed, it tells me that it is prudent to hold this rate at its current restrictive stance perhaps for longer than previously thought to help keep inflation on a sustainable trajectory toward 2%.”

On Wall Street, RH jumped 16.4% even though the retailer of home décor reported weaker profit and revenue for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It also indicated demand is trending upward, and it gave a revenue forecast for the upcoming year that was slightly above analysts’ expectations.

Analysts said investors are ready to pounce on signs of a recovery in the housing market, with interest and mortgage rates expected to come down later this year.

Chemours fell 5.6% despite reporting better results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It gave a forecast for earnings before taxes and other items in the current quarter that was below analysts’ expectations. The company also said its board has completed its internal reviews of accounting issues and found some weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting.