By Yasin Ebrahim
Investing.com -- The S&P 500 inched higher Monday after swinging between gains and losses as investors digested remarks from the Federal Reserve officials insisting further rate hikes were ahead, albeit at a slower pace despite recent data showing slowing inflation.
Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard said Wednesday that it probably would be “appropriate soon to move to a slower pace of increases,” though added that there still was “additional work to do on raising rates.”
The remarks arrived after Fed Governor Christopher Waller pushed back against investor bets on a pause on rate hikes, insisting that monetary policy tightening “isn’t ending in the next meeting or two.”
Defensive corners of the market including health care were up sharply, with Moderna and Biogen leading to the upside.
Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA ) jumped more than 6% after reporting that its new COVID-19 boosters provided increased protection against Omicron subvariants than its original formula.
Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB ) advanced more than 5% on news that Roche's Alzheimer's drug candidate failed to show evidence of slowing dementia progression in two drug trials.
A more than 3% rally in Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD ) boosted chip stocks after receiving an upgrade from Baird and UBS.
UBS upgraded AMD to outperform from neutral and lifted its price target on the stock to $95 from $75, on expectations that demand for chips is set to resume as the glut in chip inventories is nearing a peak.
Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN ) slipped more than 1% as the e-commerce giant reportedly plans to lay off about 10,000 employees as soon as this week.
Energy stocks shrugged off a slump in oil prices after OPEC cut its estimate on global oil demand amid a weaker global economic backdrop.
On the earnings front, oat-based drinks maker Oatly (NASDAQ: OTLY ) reported a larger-than-expected quarterly loss as revenue fell short of Wall Street estimates, sending its shares more than 10% lower.
In cryptocurrency-related news, Binance, the world's largest exchange by trading volume, said it would launch a recovery fund to cash-strapped crypto companies starved of liquidity in the wake of the collapse of FTX.
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