U.S. stocks mixed on easing inflation after Fed signals smaller rate hikes

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U.S. stocks mixed on easing inflation after Fed signals smaller rate hikes
Credit: © Reuters.

By Liz Moyer

Investing.com -- U.S. stocks were mixed to start the last month of the year after surging Wednesday on hopes the Federal Reserve will start to ease back on its aggressive interest rate hikes.

At 9:56 ET (14:56 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 40 points or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.4% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.6%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled the central bank was prepared to raise rates at a slower pace. Many expect it to raise its benchmark rate by a half-percentage point when it meets this month, compared with the 0.75 percentage point hikes it has made at each of its four most recent meetings .

The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the core personal consumption expenditures index, rose 0.2% in October from the prior month. That is below the consensus estimate of 0.3% and a sign inflation is slowing.

New jobless claims were also lower than forecast, coming in at 225,000 last week compared with the 235,000 expected and lower than the prior week. Meanwhile personal income was higher than expected as personal spending was inline.

Powell did say the fight isn’t over as the Fed works to tame inflation, adding that the ultimate rate might be higher than previously expected. One big data point the Fed will be watching is Friday’s report on jobs and unemployment for November.

Salesforce Inc (NYSE: CRM ) shares fell 9.8% after the software maker said co-CEO Bret Taylor would step down in January, leaving co-founder Marc Benioff as CEO.

Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp (NASDAQ: COST ) fell 7.4% after it said November sales rose 5.7%, trailing October sales gains of 7.7%.

Oil jumped. Crude Oil WTI Futures was up 2.9% to $82.91 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures crude rose 2.3% to $88.97 a barrel. Gold Futures also surged 3.2% to $1816.

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