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S&P 500, Nasdaq notch record closing highs, Treasury yields dip ahead of Fed minutes

Published 05/20/2024, 11:00 PM
Updated 05/21/2024, 04:48 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians walk past an electric monitor displaying the Japanese yen exchange rate against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan March 28, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Wall Street ended modestly higher and U.S. Treasury yields dipped on Tuesday amid the doldrums ahead of a holiday weekend and a lack of substantial market catalysts.

All three major U.S. indexes advanced and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq reached all-time closing highs in advance of Nvidia Corp (NASDAQ:NVDA)'s quarterly results and in anticipation of the release of the minutes U.S. Federal Reserve's most recent monetary policy meeting, both expected on Wednesday.

"A lot of people are just waiting for Nvidia to report," said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut. "And it shouldn’t have a broad effect, but it will, it will influence on how the market trades."

"There’s been so much emphasis placed on AI, every company seems to be talking about incorporating it into their operations," Pavlik added.

Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Tuesday calmed fears of a rate hike, saying recent economic data indicates the Fed's restrictive policy is working as directed.

Atlanta Fed Chair Raphael Bostic said the central bank needs to exercise caution ahead of its first rate cut to lead to pent-up spending and send inflation "bouncing around."

Minutes from the Federal Open Markets Committee's most recent meeting are due to be released on Wednesday, and they will be parsed for clues regarding timing and extent of policy-easing this year.

"(The Fed) is willing to think about rate cuts but we’re not there yet, those are the same thoughts we took away from their last meeting," Pavlik said. "It's akin to asking your parents to take you to Disney World and they say ‘we'll think about it.’ At least they’re not saying ‘no.’"

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66.22 points, or 0.17%, to 39,872.99, the S&P 500 gained 13.28 points, or 0.25%, to 5,321.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 37.75 points, or 0.22%, to 16,832.62.

European shares ended slightly lower, easing back from record highs as investors, cautious over central bank policy, awaited economic data.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.18% and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.03%.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.79%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.91% lower, while Japan's Nikkei lost 0.31%.

U.S. Treasury yields dipped as investors awaited the Fed minutes, eager for any clues regarding the timing of rate cuts.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 4.4139%, from 4.437% late on Friday.

The 30-year bond last rose 11/32 in price to yield 4.552%, from 4.573% late on Friday.

The dollar held firm against a basket of world currencies, after investors parsed commentary of Fed officials.

The dollar index rose 0.06%, with the euro down 0.01% at $1.0854.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.05% versus the greenback at 156.20 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2709, up 0.04% on the day.

Cryptocurrencies climbed amid signs that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may approve a spot ether exchange-traded fund.

Ethereum was last up 6.3%, while bitcoin reversed an earlier gain, inching 0.2% lower.

Oil prices dipped, extending losses as the prospect of lingering inflation and "higher for longer" interest rates raised concerns over dampening demand.

U.S. crude dropped 0.68% to settle at $79.26 per barrel and Brent settled at $82.88 per barrel, down 0.99% on the day.

© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 15, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Gold prices backed away from an all-time high as the greenback held its ground.

Spot gold dropped 0.1% to $2,422.58 an ounce.

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