By Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga
Major stock indexes on Wall Street gave up early gains and ended a choppy day of trading little changed Monday.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each slipped 0.1% after shedding gains of 1% and 1.6%, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.1% higher.
Small-company stocks outpaced the broader market in a sign that investors were confident about the economy. The Russell 2000 rose 1%.
The market’s latest gyrations came as investors prepare for a busy week of economic updates that could help answer whether the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and quell inflation are working, or whether the central bank will continue aggressively raising interest rates. Wall Street is worried that the Fed could hit the brakes too hard and cause a recession.
“Early indications of inflationary pressures appear to be easing, which will be an important catalyst for the market,” said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist for LPL Financial.
The S&P 500 fell 5.13 points to 4,140.06, while the Nasdaq slid 13.10 points to 12,644.46. The Dow added 29.07 points to close at 32,832.54. The Russell 2000 rose 19.38 points to 1,941.21.
The benchmark S&P 500 index is coming off three consecutive weekly gains. Investors remain focused on inflation and its impact on businesses and consumers, along with the Federal Reserve’s efforts to fight higher prices. The central bank has been aggressively raising interest rates to pump the brakes on economic growth and rein in record-high inflation. The Fed is expected to hike short-term interest rates by another 0.75 percentage points at its next meeting.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday released a survey of consumer expectations from July showing that there were “substantial declines” in inflation expectations for everything from food and gas to home prices.
The Labor Department will release its July report for consumer prices on Wednesday, followed by its report for prices at the wholesale level on Thursday.
This week’s inflation updates follow reports last week showing the employment market remains strong. While that’s good for the economy, it has complicated the job of the Fed, which may be forced to continue with aggressive interest rate hikes intended to cool the economy and soaring inflation.
Investors are still reviewing the latest round of corporate earnings, which could also provide more details on how hard inflation is hitting consumers and businesses. Nvidia fell 6.3% for one of the biggest declines in the S&P 500 after it warned investors that its second-quarter revenue will fall short of forecasts because of weaker gaming revenue.
Generic drugmaker Viatris rose 3.7% after beating Wall Street’s second-quarter earnings and revenue forecasts.
Technology stocks were the biggest drag on the market Monday, outweighing modest gains in other sectors. Pricey stocks in the sector tend to push the market higher or lower with more weight. Microsoft fell 0.9%.
Retailers and communications stocks were among the biggest winners. Best Buy rose 2.8% and Facebook's parent, Meta Platforms, rose 1.9%.
Clean energy companies gained ground following the Senate's approval for Democrats’ big election-year economic package, which includes funding to help fight climate change. First Solar rose 4.7%.
Bond yields fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, slipped to 2.76% from 2.83% late Friday.
Updated on August 8, 2022, at 4:56 p.m. ET.