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Sunday September 25th, 2022 4:01PM

Stocks drift in early going on Wall Street ahead of the Fed

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks drifted between small gains and losses in morning trading on Wall Street Tuesday as investors await Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve on interest rates.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1% as of 10:18 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 39 points, or 0.1%, to 12,524 and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%.

The benchmark S&P 500 had more gainers than losers, but the broader market was held back by weakness from technology stocks. Many companies in the sector have pricey stock values and therefore have more force in pushing the major indexes up or down.

Energy stocks made solid gains following encouraging earnings reports from several oil and gas companies. BP jumped 6.9% after reporting its highest quarterly profit in more than a decade thanks to surging oil and gas prices. Devon Energy rose 5.3% and Diamondback Energy gained 3.2% after they reported strong financial results.

Wall Street's key focus over the next several days is the Fed. The central bank is meeting on Tuesday and will release a statement on Wednesday. Investors expect it to raise its benchmark rate by twice the usual amount this week as it steps up its fight against inflation, which is at a four-decade high. It has already raised its key overnight rate once, the first such increase since 2018, and Wall Street is expecting several big increases over the coming months.

The Fed's aggressive shift to raise interest rates comes as rising inflation puts more pressure on businesses and consumers. Higher costs for energy and other commodities have prompted many businesses to raise prices and issue cautious forecasts to their investors. Wall Street and economists are worried that higher prices on everything from food to gas and clothing will prompt a slowdown in consumer spending and crimp economic growth.

Bond yields eased. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.93% from 2.99% late Monday. Treasury yields have been generally rising all year as investors prepare for higher interest rates, which will make borrowing money more expensive.

Investors have been closely reviewing the latest round of company earnings to get more details on how inflation is impacting business and consumer activity.

Household goods giant Clorox rose 3.5% after reporting solid quarterly profits, but it also cut its profit forecast for the year because of higher costs. Starbucks will report its results later Tuesday. CVS Health will report its financial results on Wednesday.

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