Market Coverage: Thursday November 18 Yahoo Finance

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Stocks were mostly higher on Thursday to reverse course after dropping a day earlier, as investors weighed a batch of solid corporate earnings results against lingering inflation concerns.

The S&P 500 rose. As of Wednesday’s close, the index was up by 1.8% for November to date, and hovered less than 0.7% below its all-time intraday high.

Nvidia (NVDA) shares jumped to help lead both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher after the semiconductor company posted record quarterly revenues and strong full-year guidance. The report suggested it was effectively navigating a lingering global shortage and meeting elevated demand.

Dow company Cisco (CSCO), however, saw results dented by components shortages, and the computer networking equipment company posted a disappointing current-quarter forecast. And overseas, Alibaba’s (BABA) sharply disappointing quarterly report and slashed guidance for the full year raised alarm bells about the pace of growth in China — the world’s second-largest economy — as company executives highlighted slowing consumption trends. Meanwhile, U.S. retailer Victoria’s Secret (VSCO) saw shares surge after delivering much better-than-expected third-quarter profits and suggesting sales would grow by as much as 3% in the current period.

The broader equity market drop on Wednesday had coincided with a set of new economic data showing a surprise drop in new-home construction last month. Commentary about inflation also mounted and added to investors’ concerns over elevated price pressures. Target (TGT) executives flagged rising labor and other input costs during their earnings call on Wednesday and added to a chorus of other company mentions of inflation.

The possibility that elevated inflation will stick around longer than previously anticipated remained a central focus for investors, both for its potential dampening effect on consumer spending, and as a potential catalyst for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than previously telegraphed. The U.S. central bank has so far maintained its accommodative tilt and telegraphed that an initial interest rate hike could take place sometime next year, depending on the evolution of the economic recovery. Investors also continue to await a formal announcement from President Joe Biden about his nominee for Fed chair, with the most likely candidates being current Fed Chair Jerome Powell, and current Fed Governor Lael Brainard.

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