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U.S. stocks opened higher Monday as investors approached the final stretch of earnings season and braced for a busy week of inflation data.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.5% after the benchmark index logged three straight weeks of gains despite modest losses on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 180 points, or 0.6%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3%.
The moves come after stocks finished mixed in Friday’s session after a blowout employment report showed the U.S. economy added twice as many jobs in July as expected. The Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls rose by 528,000 last month, renewing worries the Federal Reserve may proceed with aggressive interest rate hikes to slow demand and drive down inflation.
“It likely signals reduced risk of a near-term recession, but, in our view, increases the risk of a hard landing over time given that strong data means the Fed has more work to do,” economists at Bank of America led by Michael Gapen said in a note Friday.
The bank also upwardly revised its projections for rate increases by an additional 25 basis points, calling for 50 basis point bumps in both September and November and 25 basis points in December.
Investors are in for three big inflation readings this week: the all-important Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Producer Price Index (PPI), and unit labor costs, a measure of all wages paid to employees.
The closely-watched CPI index for July due out Wednesday is expected to show a slight moderation from last month’s reading, mainly helped by lower gas prices. The figure, however, is still expected to show inflation climbing at the highest pace in four decades.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the broadest measure of CPI rose by 8.7% in July, a number that would mark a slight cooldown from 9.1% in June. Over the month, CPI is expected to show an increase of 0.2%, up from 1.3% last month.
The earnings season is winding down, with roughly 87% of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported actual results for the second quarter year-to-date. But more big reports are stil set for release, with earnings from names including Disney, (DIS), Coinbase (COIN), Tyson Foods (TSN), and Rivian Automotive (RIVN) on tap this week.
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