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Stock Market Today: Wall Street Holds a Bit Steadier as Pressure Eases From the Bond Market

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By Stan Choe AP Business Writer

New York (AP) — U.S. stocks are drifting Wednesday, and indexes are mixed following a three-day losing streak for the S&P 500. news online

The S&P 500 was 0.1% higher in midday trading following a mixed set of earnings reports from big companies The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 14 points, or less than 0.1%, as of 11:05 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.1% lower.

United Airlines soared 12.2% after reporting stronger results for the start of the year than analysts expected, lifted by strong demand from business fliers. Travelers slumped 7.9% after the insurer’s quarterly results fell short of forecasts. It had to contend with more losses from catastrophes.

The bond market has been dictating much of Wall Street’s action lately, and Treasury yields there were easing the pressure on the stock market. They’re cooling following sharp recent climbs driven by traders giving up hopes for several cuts to interest rates by the Federal Reserve this year.

The 10-year Treasury yield eased to 4.61% from 4.67% late Tuesday. The two-year yield, which moves more closely with expectations for the Fed, fell to 4.94% from 4.99%.

Yields got back to where they were in November after top officials at the Federal Reserve suggested Tuesday that the central bank may hold its main interest steady at its highest level since 2001 for a while. It wants to get more confidence that inflation is sustainably heading toward its target of 2%.

High interest rates hurt prices for investments and increase the risk of a recession, but Fed officials are concerned after a string of reports this year has shown inflation remaining hotter than forecast.

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Traders are now mostly expecting just one or two cuts to interest rates from the Federal Reserve this year, according to data from CME Group. That’s down from forecasts for six or more at the start of the year.

With little help expected from an easing of interest rates in the near term, companies will need to deliver fatter profits to justify their big runs in stock price since autumn.

“I think markets are waiting on corporate news to decide where they’ll head next,” said JJ Kinahan, CEO of IG North America.

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Omnicom Group rose 1.9% after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The marketing and communications company highlighted growth trends in most markets around the world, outside the Middle East and Africa.

Eli Lilly climbed on hopes for stronger profits after it reported encouraging results from a phase 3 clinical trial for a treatment for some people with sleep apnea, a breathing disorder. It rose 1.3%.

On the losing end of Wall Street was J.B. Hunt Transport Services, which reported weaker revenue and results than expected. It was hurt in part by competition in the eastern part of the country and by higher wages for workers and other costs. It slumped 9.4%.

In stock markets abroad, London’s FTSE 100 added 0.5% after a report showed U.K. inflation fell to its lowest level in two and a half years in March. That could further pave the way for a cut in interest rates there.

Other indexes rose in Europe, while they were mixed in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.3%, while stocks jumped 2.1% in Shanghai.

AP Business Writers Yuri Kageyama and Matt Ott contributed.

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Notes from APS Radio News

Following massive infusions of currency by the Federal Reserve between February 2020 and the summer of 2022 and the closures of over 160, 000 small and medium-sized businesses by November 2020, closures due to lockdowns over the virus thing, a few years ago the US experienced rates of inflation not seen since the early 1980’s.

Between February 2020 and the summer of 2022, the Federal Reserve added over $4.5 trillion to its holdings.

A number of the world’s major central banks, including the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan adhered to and implemented similar policies.

In official terms, the Federal Reserve occasionally announces that its goal of acceptable inflation is 2%.

Thus, when officially tabulated and published rates of inflation are at or near that level, the Federal Reserve ceases increasing interest rates.

Lockdowns led to shortages of goods and services, well before sanctions were applied to Russia, in the context of its having invaded Ukraine.

Economists say that the combination of shortages and massive and rapid infusions of currency led to substantially higher rates of inflation.

As well, recently it was reported that a number of months before the news items about “covid in the early part of 2020, it was learned that interbank lending was in periol of not having enough funds.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the Federal Reserve has been providing a “backstop” for that type of funding.

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