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Friday, September 29, 2023

Stocks wobble on Wall Street ahead of retailer earnings

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Stocks wobbled in midday trading on Wall Street Monday as the market comes off its first weekly loss in six weeks.

The S&P 500 fell 0.1% as of 11:56 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 9 points, or less than 0.1%, to 36,109 and the Nasdaq fell 0.3%.

Banks and other financial companies made gains, along with utilities and a mix of household and consumer goods companies.

Technology stocks fell and countered gains elsewhere in the market, while U.S. crude oil prices fell 1% and left energy companies mixed.

A broad variety of companies that rely on direct consumer spending for goods and services were also mixed. Dollar Tree jumped 13.6% following reports that activist investor Mantle Ridge plans to push the discount retailer to take measures to increase its stock value.

Tesla continued sliding after CEO Elon Musk’s move to sell a chunk of his stock. The electric vehicle maker’s stock fell 4.2% on Monday and shed 15% last week.

Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.62% from 1.58% late Friday.

E-commerce mattress maker Casper surged 85% following news that is being acquired and taken private for about $308 million, less than a year after its public debut.

Buyout news helped lift several other companies. Data center owners and operators CyrusOne rose 4.7% and and CoreSite rose 2.8% after announcing separate deals.

Investors will get an update on the health of the retail sector this week as several big retailers report their latest quarterly results. Home Depot and Walmart will report on Tuesday, followed by Target on Wednesday and Macy’s on Thursday.

Wall Street will also get a broader view on spending trends when the Commerce Department releases its retail sales report on Tuesday.

Investors will be watching for any signs that inflation is crimping business operations or consumer spending. Businesses have had to raise prices on a variety of goods to offset higher raw materials costs and are facing a wide range of supply chain problems. Consumers have so far taken price increases in stride, but analysts are concerned that they could start to pull back on spending because of the persistently rising inflation.

Discouraging reports on inflation from the Labor Department last week tripped up the broader market and sent major indexes to their first weekly loss in six weeks.

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