US stocks inch higher in countdown to inflation data
US stocks edged higher on Wednesday, with tech equities reaching for gains as investors waited for fresh inflation data and absorbed a dramatic turn in events in spot bitcoin ETFs.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) and benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) were up about 0.2%.The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) rose about 0.3%, after tech stocks eked out the sole win among the major indexes the previous day.
Stock investors are likely treading carefully ahead of Thursday’s US consumer inflation reading for December, watching for signs of further cooling that could prompt the Federal Reserve to pivot on policy. Recent days have seen worries rise that the market is pricing in too many interest-rate cuts in 2024, as once-rampant confidence for an early cut fades.
Meanwhile, bitcoin (BTC-USD) wavered but held above $45,000 after a tweet from the SEC’s X account sparked swings in the leading cryptocurrency. The regulator blamed a hack for the false post announcing it had approved spot bitcoin ETFs. The decision on whether the likes of BlackRock and Ark Invest can start offering the funds is expected on Wednesday.
Also in focus is the coming start of fourth-quarter earnings cycle, led Friday by Wall Street banking heavyweights such as JPMorgan Chase (JPM). The season will be critical for stocks, after their rough start to 2024.