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US stocks mostly higher as tech gains ahead of Fed meeting, inflation data

U.S. stocks were mostly higher Monday, as technology started the week on front foot just ahead of the Federal Reserve interest rate decision and inflation data due this week. 

At 13:25 ET (17:25 GMT), Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 30 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 dropped rose 0.1%, and NASDAQ Composite added 0.3%.

Apple slips as annual developer conference gets underway; Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) adds to gains, AMD stumbles

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock fell nearly 1% ahead of the start of its annual developer conference later Monday, where the tech giant is expected to showcase how it is integrating artificial intelligence across its software suite, including a revamped Siri voice assistant and a possible tie-up with ChatGPT owner OpenAI.

Nvidia stock rose 1%, adding to gains from last week as the chipmaker continued to ride its recent 10-for-1 split and ongoing AI momentum higher. 

Such stock splits are a near-term positive for shares, according to Goldman Sachs.

Based on 45 stock splits within the Russell 1000 since 2019, stock prices typically climbed 4% in the week following the announcement “but prices did not evidence a clear reaction in subsequent weeks or around the effective date,” Goldman said in the note.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD) fell more than 3%, keeping a lid on gains in the chip sector after Morgan Stanley downgraded the chipmaker to equal weight from overweight, citing concenrs about valuation.

Fed meeting, CPI data eyed

Investors are showing a degree of caution ahead of the conclusion of the latest Fed meeting on Wednesday, where the central bank is likely to keep interest rates unchanged.

Market watchers are keen to see how many rate cuts officials will signal for the rest of 2024, with the updated dot plot likely to point to two 25-basis point cuts this year, down from three in March.

Citi economists now expect the Federal Reserve to begin cutting rates in September rather than July, following the much hotter-than-expected May jobs data released last week.

“We now expect 75bp of total cuts this year in September, November and December,” the bank’s economists said in a Friday note.

“But the jobs report does not change our view that hiring demand, and the broader economy, is slowing and that this will ultimately provoke the Fed to react with a series of cuts beginning in the next few months,” they added.

Consumer price index inflation data is also due on Wednesday, before the Fed’s announcement, and is expected to show inflation remaining comfortably above the central bank’s target range. 

Inflation has been the Fed’s biggest consideration in altering interest rates, and the data could fire markets up ahead of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s post-meeting press conference.

Banks Drag financials lower

Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (NASDAQ:HBAN) fell more than 5%, pressuring several regional banks and the broader financial sector, after the regional bank said cut its net interest income guidance for the year, forecasting a decline of between 1% to 4%, compared with prior forecast for a decrease of 2% to a gain of 2%. 

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), PNC Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:PNC) and KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) were about 2% lower.

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