Stocks mixed after PCE data signals cooling inflation: Stock market news today

Wall Street stocks were mixed on Thursday afternoon after fresh data hinted at the easing in inflation that the Federal Reserve is looking for.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) sank 0.15%, or about 50 points, even as it was buoyed by a jump in Salesforce shares (CRM) after the software giant’s AI-fueled earnings beat. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) lifted just above the flat line, adding 0.08%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) added roughly 0.3%.

Thursday’s update to the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index showed the Fed’s preferred inflation measure edged higher in July, with both headline and “core” readings in line with expectations.

“Despite the apparent strength of real demand, inflationary pressures continued to ease,” Capital Economics economist Paul Ashworth wrote in a note to clients.

Stocks are eyeing a fifth straight day of gains to close out a losing August, as investors take heart from signs of a soft landing for the US economy in this week’s clutch of data. That is spurring bets the Fed could ease off on its interest rate hikes at its upcoming September meeting.

Meanwhile, US jobless claims fell to 228,000 last week, undershooting expectations for 235,000, according to official figures released Thursday. That sets the scene for Friday’s August jobs report, seen as key to the Fed’s decision making in its mission to temper price pressures.

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Correction: A previous version of this article listed the incorrect place of employment for Capital Economics economist Paul Ashworth. We regret the error.

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