New Telegraph

US Stocks Tread Water With Dow Aiming For 40,000

US stocks were little changed Friday afternoon with Wall Street pausing on the run towards bullish milestones as investors dithered over the odds for rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) held steady on the heels of touching the key 40,000 level for the first time during Thursday’s trading. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) ticked just over the flatline while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slipped just underneath it, but all the gauges were on track for weekly wins.

The run-up in stocks hit a bump in the wake of comments from Fed officials warning that rates are likely to stay at historic highs for a while. That dampened enthusiasm for the likelihood of a September cut that had been lifted by encouraging inflation data.

Friday’s light economic and corporate calendar leaves few jumping-off points for the Dow to make another go at crossing its key juncture, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq have their own fresh records within reach. That puts the spotlight on appearances by Fed officials.

On Friday US Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman reiterated her view that the central bank has not made progress this year on curbing inflation, she said in a speech in Nashville, Tennessee. Bowman said she is willing to raise rates again at a future meeting if incoming data shows further stalling.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell was scheduled to deliver remarks at Georgetown University’s Law School graduation this Sunday, but he will now be speaking through a pre-recorded video, after he tested positive for COVID-19, a central bank spokesperson said on Friday.

In individual movers, Reddit (RDDT) shares jumped 13 per cent, not far off its highest close of $65.11 hit in March. The social media platform has signed a partnership with OpenAI that will see ChatGPT integrate content from its forums.

Meanwhile, GameStop (GME) shares sank over 25 per cent after the games retailer said it expects first quarter sales to drop as shoppers shift to online outlets. Shares in the meme stock soared at the start of the week in an echo of the 2021 frenzy, but the rally has turned into a slide in recent days.

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