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U.S. stocks rise as investors await inflation data, next Fed rate move

U.S. stocks rise as investors await inflation data, next Fed rate move
© Reuters.

 

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By Liz Moyer

Investing.com — U.S. stocks were rising early on Tuesday as investors look forward to this week’s inflation data and the next interest rate move by the Federal Reserve. 

At 11:09 ET (16:09 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 55 points or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.1% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.2%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke before the opening bell from a conference in Sweden, where officials were gathered to talk about the independence of central banks. Powell said policy makers need freedom from political influence as they make decisions about monetary policy, which can often be unpopular.

The Fed has been trying to tame inflation by raising interest rates in steady increments over the past year, which has weighed on the tech stock sector and caused a downturn in stock markets in general. The Fed has also acknowledged that the unemployment rate, now at a 50-year low, will have to rise as it tries to cool the economy.

Falling stock markets and rising joblessness are touchy themes for politicians, however. Presidents have often bristled at past Fed actions that didn’t appear to boost their political capital.

“The absence of direct political control over our decisions allows us to take these necessary measures without considering short-term political factors,” Powell said in prepared remarks, Reuters reported.

Powell didn’t directly address the Fed’s current thinking on where rates are headed in the U.S., though the market seems to agree that more rate hikes are in the cards. Traders are expecting a quarter-percentage-point increase when the Fed next meets in February.

This week features the release of inflation data for December that could give the Fed more justification for raising rates by that amount, which would be a slower pace than previous hikes as prices show signs of cooling off. 

Big bank earnings will cap off the week on Friday. Banks should be able to demonstrate gains from rising rates, which help them profit more off of lending. But capital markets and deal-making activity could result in muted earnings from some of Wall Street’s biggest firms. 

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY) rose 22% despite worse-than-expected results for its quarterly loss and revenue. The home goods retailer has indicated it is exploring strategic options, including a possible bankruptcy filing. 

Oil was mixed. Crude Oil WTI Futures were up 0.1% to $74.72 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures dipped 0.1% to $79.56 a barrel. Gold Futures rose 0.1% to $1,880.

Source: Investing.com

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