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Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq notch record close as cooling inflation boosts rate-cut hopes

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Investing.com – The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed at record highs Wednesday, as consumer inflation cooled more than expected following three months of upside surprises, boosting hopes for sooner rate rates and sending Treasury yields sharply lower. 

At 16:00 ET (20:00 GMT), Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 349 points, or 0.9%, S&P 500 rose 1.2% higher, and the NASDAQ Composite rose 1.4%. All three major averages, however, are on pace for a record close.

Cooling CPI helps boost rate cut hopes, sends Treasury yields lower

The overall consumer price index slowed to 0.3% pace in April from 0.4% a month earlier, slower than the 0.4% pace economists had expected, boosting hopes that the disinflation trend is back on track. That took the annual figure to 3.4%, down from a 3.5% pace.  

The core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.3% versus March levels, while the annual core CPI inflation rate eased to 3.6% from 3.8% in March.

The slowdown in consumer prices came a day after a producer price inflation came in hotter than expected. 

But on the heels of the hot producer price report, a “cooler-than-expected consumer price report has immediately eased concerns of rapidly rising inflation, fueling investors’ hopes for rate cuts in the coming months,” Stifel said in a Wednesday note.

Traders see a 50.5% chance that the U.S. central bank will start cutting rates in September, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Treasury yields fell sharply on the news with the 10-year Treasury down 10 basis point to 4.34%.

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Elsewhere on the economic front, retail sales were unchanged in April, trailing forecasts for a 0.4% gain, as consumers continued to struggle.

Tech rally picks up steam on falling yields

Big tech and chip stocks including Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), META (NASDAQ:META), and Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) led the broader market rally, with latter boosted by signs that demand for its existing chips haven’t been impacted ahead of the release of its next-gen Blackwell GPUs. 

“Despite anticipation of next-generation Blackwell GPUs in the 2H, we see limited signs of a demand pause KeyBanc Capital market said in a note. The bullish remarks come just a week ahead of the chipmaker’s quarterly results due May 22. 

Boeing falls on legal worries

Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) fell 2% after the Department of Justice said the airplane manufacturer violated a settlement that prevented it from from facing criminal prosecution related to two fatal 737 Max crashes.

Boeing, however denied the claims that it had violated the settlement and said it had honored the terms of the agreement. 

Meme stock rally fades

So-called meme stocks saw more volatile trading Wednesday, with AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) stock slumping 20% after the cinema chain announced a debt-for-equity swap, which will see it issuing over 23 million shares.

GameStop (NYSE:GME) stock fell 18%, with the video retailer handing back some of this week’s sizzling gains.

Before Wednesday, GameStop and AMC were up 179% and 135% this week, respectively.

(Peter Nurse, Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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