Wall St rises ahead of key economic data this week; AMC soars

(Reuters) -Wall Street’s main indexes firmed ahead of closely watched economic data this week as investors grappled with concerns over inflation and the latest leg of a surge in so-called “meme stocks”.

FILE PHOTO: Morning sunlight falls on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building after the start of Thursday’s trading session in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The technology sector rose 0.9%, providing the biggest boost to the benchmark S&P 500, while communication services and materials eased.

A weekly unemployment report and May private payrolls data on Thursday will be followed by monthly jobs numbers on Friday.

Investors are closely tracking the labor market’s recovery after an unexpected slowdown in jobs growth in April fanned inflation worries.

The benchmark S&P 500 has recovered most of its losses following a more than 4% pullback in mid-May on fears over rising prices and a subsequent tightening of policy from the Federal Reserve. The index is now just about 1% from its peak.

The blue-chip Dow and the tech-heavy Nasdaq are about 1.5% and 3.0% from their respective all-time highs.

“Investors are all over the place on what to expect from inflationary pressures,” said Anthony Denier, chief executive officer of trading platform Webull.

“The Federal Reserve thinks inflation will be transient. However, many experts are talking about how strong demand combined with limited supply of many things including labor are going to produce a spike in inflation that could span years.”

The S&P 500 slipped after three straight days of gains on Tuesday as losses in healthcare and technology stocks offset gains in economically sensitive financials and energy sectors after upbeat U.S. factory activity data. At 12:06 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 64.68 points, or 0.19%, at 34,639.99 and the S&P 500 was up 11.18 points, or 0.27%, at 4,213.22. The Nasdaq Composite was up 24.31 points, or 0.18%, at 13,760.79.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc surged 50.4% as individual traders on social media forums were unfazed by a hedge fund flipping its stake in AMC, calling it overvalued. Its market value jumped to $21 billion, overtaking $18 billion of GameStop, which was at the heart of a retail trading frenzy earlier this year.

Later in the day, investors will turn to the Fed’s “Beige Book” report, a summary of the state of business across the central bank’s 12 regional districts.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.34-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.03-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 47 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 104 new highs and 16 new lows.

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