U.S. stock indexes rose tentatively Monday, with benchmarks looking to start the week off on a positive note after ending a streak of five straight weekly gains, as investors remained focused on inflation and central bankers’ response to elevated pricing pressures across the globe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 126 points, or 0.4%, to 36,228.
The S&P 500 index
rose 0.2%, or 11 points, to 4,694.
The Nasdaq Composite Index
rose 0.3%, or 46 points, to 15,907.
The major U.S. benchmarks each snapped a stretch of five straight weekly gains on Friday, though the retreat was modest, leaving the S&P 500 just 0.4% away from a record close.
What’s driving markets
Stocks were trading on a relatively bullish footing on Monday, with a report on New York state manufacturing activity, supporting some degree of optimism emanating out of Wall Street.
The New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing business conditions index rose 11.1 points to 30.9 in November, the regional Fed bank said Monday. Economists had expected a reading of 22, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.
“Despite ongoing supply-chain challenges, growth in manufacturing in New York state gained momentum this month…There were substantial increases in both new orders and shipments. In a sign that labor supply may be increasing, the index for the number of employees rose to a record high,” wrote economists Nancy Vanden Houten and Greg Daco of Oxford Economics.
The upbeat manufacturing report comes after the University of Michigan consumer-sentiment survey released Friday showed inflation data weighing on consumer attitudes, though it isn’t clear that will translate into weaker spending. The Chicago Fed ‘s advance retail trade summary forecasts a 2.6% jump in retail sales excluding auto, far stronger than the 1% gain seen in an economist poll. The retail sales report is due Tuesday.
Strong third-quarter earnings have been a pillar of this recent run-up in equities, with consumers central to the economic rebound from the debilitating COVID-19 crisis.
“The strong demand from households despite depressed attitudes suggests that heavy fiscal support and highly accommodative financial conditions are outweighing the constraining influence of weak sentiment. If fiscal support and monetary accommodation are strong enough to counter depressed attitudes, they are probably strong enough to push inflation higher,” said Michael Moran, chief economist at Daiwa Capital Markets America.
The inflation backdrop makes the next choice of Federal Reserve chair all the more important politically for President Joe Biden. The Wall Street Journal reported he may choose between renominating Chairman Jerome Powell or choosing Fed. Gov. Lael Brainard as early as this week. The report said the Brainard meeting “went better than expected.”
Biden is due to sign the infrastructure bill into law in a signing ceremony Monday afternoon. He’s also due to hold a virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the evening.
Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde told European Parliament that the central bank expects inflation to moderate next year, though prices will take longer to decline than originally expected. European inflation data is due for release this week.
Which companies are in focus?
Share of WeWork Inc. WE were in focus after the flexible workspace company reported its first quarterly report since going public last month through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, with losses narrowing but revenue falling.
Shares of Boeing Co. BA rallied after the aerospace giant reported a number of orders for its planes from the 2021 Dubai Airshow.
Oatly Group AB OTLY shares plunged in Monday trading after the plant-based beverage company reported a third-quarter revenue miss and issued a revenue warning for the year.
Restaurant Brands International Inc. QSR said Monday that it has agreed to acquire Firehouse Subs, a sub sandwich chain founded in Jacksonville, Fla., for $1 billion in cash, funded through cash-on-hand and debt.
How are other assets faring?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y edged back less a basis point to 1.57%. Yields rise while prices fall and vice versa.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was flat on Monday, trading around a 15-month high, after posting a weekly gain of 0.8% on Friday.