Stock market today: Wall Street rises to recover some of its losses from its worst day in weeks

People pass the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in New York. World shares are mostly higher after tumbling Big Tech stocks dragged Wall Street to its worst day in three weeks. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

People pass the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in New York. World shares are mostly higher after tumbling Big Tech stocks dragged Wall Street to its worst day in three weeks. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gained ground Wednesday to recover some of their losses from the day before, which was Wall Street’s worst in three weeks.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said again that cuts to interest rates may be coming this year, but that the Fed needs more data showing inflation is cooling before it will act.

The S&P 500 rose 26.11 points, or 0.5%, to 5,104.76. The benchmark index fell 1% a day prior.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 75.86 points, or 0.2%, to 38,661.05. The Nasdaq composite rose 91.95, or 0.6%, to 16,031.54.

Nvidia was the strongest force pushing upward on the S&P 500 as it rose 3.2%. Meta Platforms also steadied itself and rose 1.2% a day after sliding 1.6%. They’re among the market’s most influential stocks because of their massive size.

They and other Big Tech stocks have also been disproportionately responsible for the S&P 500’s run to records on expectations for strong continued growth. That’s raised the bar of expectations for them to justify their high stock prices, leading to some painful drops earlier this week.

CrowdStrike jumped 10.8% after the cybersecurity company reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It also gave a forecast for upcoming profit that topped Wall Street’s estimates.

Shares of the troubled New York Community Bancorp bounced around and eventually finished 7.5% higher after it announced a lifeline of more than $1 billion from a group of investors, including Steven Mnuchin, the former U.S. Treasury secretary under President Donald Trump. It nearly halved earlier in trading before being halted for news. The regional bank has lost 66% of its value this year amid falling values in commercial real estate and acquisitions it made.

An index of regional bank stocks pared most its losses following the announcement. The KBW Nasdaq Regional Banking index slipped 0.4% after being down as much as 3.1% earlier in the afternoon.

In the bond market, Treasury yields edged lower as Powell spoke about interest-rate policy before a House of Representatives committee.

As always, Wall Street scrutinized each of his words for hints about when the Federal Reserve could begin cutting its main interest rate, which is at its highest level since 2001. Such a move would release pressure on the financial system and goose prices for investments.

Powell said again that high interest rates are putting downward pressure on the economy to get inflation under control. He also said, again, that the Fed needs greater confidence inflation is moving sustainably toward its target of 2% before acting. Cutting too soon could allow inflation to reaccelerate.

“We have some confidence of that,” Powell said about inflation moving down toward its target.

“We want to see a little more data so we can become more confident.”

Traders have already shelved earlier expectations for a cut in March, and they’re now eyeing June as the likeliest beginning.

A report in the morning did little to change those expectations. It said U.S. employers were advertising nearly 8.9 million jobs at the end of January, close to the same number as a month before.

Wall Street’s hope has been for continued but more modest growth in job openings. Such a slowdown could help the economy thread the needle and stay out of recession while also removing upward pressure on inflation. That in turn could get the Federal Reserve to cut rates.

The job-openings data likely changed little and support the Fed’s current stance, “which is one of patience on future policy decisions,” according to Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics.

The Fed’s latest report on U.S. business and economic conditions said economic activity increased slightly since early January. The “Beige Book” released Wednesday also said that the Fed’s 12 regional bank districts are seeing the tight labor market ease a bit.

Foot Locker tumbled 29.4% even though it reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The sneaker retailer said it’s not yet resuming its dividend as it rebuilds cash. It also gave a forecast for upcoming profit that fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Nordstrom likewise fell even though its report for the latest quarter topped forecasts. It sank 16.1% after giving a forecasted range for profit this upcoming year whose midpoint was below analysts’ estimates.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.11% from 4.14% late Tuesday.

In stock markets abroad, indexes were mixed with mostly modest moves across Europe and Asia.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.7% to trim its loss for the week. In China, top officials said they have plenty of room to attain their target for economic growth this year, though they acknowledged it’s a challenge.

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AP Writer Zimo Zhong contributed.

AP Business

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