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(MarketWatch) — U.S. stock indexes mostly booked gains ahead of Thanksgiving, following the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve’s November meeting showing some officials favored a faster pace of tapering of the central bank’s monthly bond-buying program.
U.S. markets will be closed on Thanksgiving and will end early on the Friday after the holiday.
Stock indexes ended mostly higher Wednesday, as investors poured over minutes of the Fed’s November meeting released late in the session and sifted through a mixed barrage of U.S. economic data.
The Fed minutes showed several central bank officials favored a more robust pace of cuts to its monthly bond-buying program and staffers revised up their near-term outlook for inflation.
Investors digested U.S. economic data showing first-time claims for unemployment benefits plunged by 71,000 to 199,000 last week, the lowest levels since 1969.
n other data Wednesday, the pace of economic growth in the third quarter was raised to a 2.1% annualized rate versus an initial estimate of 2%. The U.S. trade deficit in goods narrowed sharply in October.
On the other hand, orders for U.S. durable goods—products meant to last at least three years—fell 0.5% in October, the government said Wednesday. Yet the decline stemmed entirely from fewer orders for passenger planes, a volatile category that often distorts the level of underlying demand in the economy.
Data also highlighted historically elevated levels of inflation, with a measure of the cost of goods and services jumping 0.6% in October, based on the personal consumption expenditure index or PCE, and rose 5% over the past year from 4.4% in September. That’s the highest level since December 1990. The PCE index is the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation indicator.
Separately, U.S. new home sales rose 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 745,000 in October from 742,000 in the prior month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
On the public health front, Michigan and Minnesota are leading the nation by new COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis and federal medical workers are traveling to Minnesota to support hospital staffing. Cases are up 25% in the last two weeks nationally, and up more than 40% in those states and 12 others. Overall, despite the arrival of vaccines in spring that can stop hospitalization and death, more Americans have died of COVID in 2021 than in 2020, the Times reported, as many unvaccinated people succumbed to the illness.
But one of the bigger picture stories of the last few days has been the rise in real, or inflation-adjusted, yields. The 10-year yield on Treasury-inflated-protected securities closed above -1% for the first time in three weeks on Wednesday.
- Gap Inc. on Tuesday blamed “significant” supply-chain constraints as it cut its full-year earnings guidance and reported third-quarter results that fell short of expectations. Its shares ended 24.1% lower Wednesday.
- Shares of Nordstrom Inc. slumped 29% Wednesday after the department store chain reported third-quarter earnings short of analysts’ expectations.
- E-commerce platform Global-e Online Ltd. GLBE, +0.40% announced it will acquire technology Flow Commerce Inc. in a deal valued up to $500 million.
- Johnson & Johnson JNJ said Wednesday its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine has been granted full approval by Health Canada, marking its first major regulatory approval. Shares fell 0.3%.
- Shares of Deere & Co. DE jumped 5.3% Wednesday, after the agricultural and construction equipment company reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales that rose above expectations, as strong demand for farm and construction equipment helped offset cost of sales growth that outpaced sales growth amid supply-chain challenges.
- GameStop Corp. GME stock slipped 1% Wednesday. It said it will report fiscal third-quarter earnings results on Dec. 8, after the closing bell.
- Cathie Wood’s ARK funds sold Tesla TSLA to increase their stake in Zoom Video Communications ZM, after the poorly received results by the video communications company. Tesla shares gained 0.6%.
- Gold futures for December delivery GCZ21 rose less than 0.1% to settle at $1,784.30 an ounce.
- U.S. oil futures finished down 0.1%, settling at $78.39 a barrel.
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