Stocks Edge Higher to Close Another Winning Month

S&P 500 is at a 16-month high
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2023 3:57 PM CDT
Stocks Edge Higher to Close Another Winning Month
The US flag flies over the side entrance to the New York Stock Exchange.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Wall Street closed out its latest winning month with another tick higher on Monday. The S&P 500 added 6.73 points, or 0.1%, to 4,588.96 to cap its fifth straight month of gains. That's its longest winning streak in nearly two years, and the index is at a 16-month high after rallying on hopes cooling inflation will mean the economy can avoid a long-predicted recession, the AP reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 100.24, or 0.3%, to 35,559.53, and the Nasdaq composite rose 29.37, or 0.2%, to 13,346.0

Critics have been saying, however, that Wall Street's seemingly growing consensus for a soft landing for the economy has come too quickly. Several reports this upcoming week could poke holes in the theory that inflation will keep coming down enough for the Federal Reserve to not only stop hiking interest rates but to begin cutting them by early next year. Big names in the market, such as Rob Arnott at Research Affiliates, are warning not to be "overly hasty in popping the champagne corks." Arnott sees the possibility of inflation rebounding again later this year, even though it's cooled considerably recently.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell himself has pointed to Friday's upcoming report on the overall US job market as an important datapoint. Growth needs to be strong enough to keep a lid on worries about a possible recession. But a reading that's too hot could also mean upward pressure on inflation.

  • Also this week, two of Wall Street's most influential stocks are set to report their earnings for the spring. Amazon and Apple are both scheduled to release their latest quarterly results on Thursday. Because they're two of the most massive stocks on Wall Street, their stock movements pack much more punch for the S&P 500 and other indexes than other stocks. Roughly halfway through the earnings reporting season, more companies than usual have topped analysts' profit expectations, according to FactSet.
(More stock market stories.)

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