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Nasdaq finishes at record as US stocks shrug off latest inflation data

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai speaks during the tech titan’s annual I/O developers conference on May 14, 2024, in Mountain View, California (Glenn CHAPMAN)
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai speaks during the tech titan’s annual I/O developers conference on May 14, 2024, in Mountain View, California (Glenn CHAPMAN)

Wall Street stocks rose Tuesday, with the Nasdaq finishing at an all-time high as investors shrugged off data that showed April wholesale inflation topping expectations in the first of two eagerly awaited US pricing reports.

US wholesale prices jumped by 0.5 percent in April, much above estimates in a dynamic that could keep Federal Reserve interest rates higher for longer.

However, analysts noted that the gain was offset by a revision to the March report, which showed wholesale inflation cooling in that period.

"The numbers were more or less in line," said Steve Sosnick of Interactive Brokers, who pointed to Wednesday's consumer price report as a key test for stocks.

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Following a mixed day on bourses in Europe and Asia, major stock indices in New York advanced, with the Nasdaq jumping 0.8 percent to finish at a record.

Traders also brushed off bearish comments from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell as they awaited April's US consumer price index (CPI) on Wednesday, which carries more weight with the Federal Reserve and investors. Consensus is for annual core inflation to ease to 3.6 percent from 3.8 percent.

Analysts said a miss in either direction on CPI could have a big impact on markets. "CPI is likely the keystone of the entire week, and any above-expected climb could cause a market pullback," said Cooper Howard, director of fixed income strategy at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

This week's economic releases follow forecast-beating US figures for the first three months of the year that have prompted investors to whittle down their expectations for the number of rate cuts -- from six in January to at most two now.

"The first quarter in the United States was notable for its lack of further progress on inflation," Powell said Tuesday during an event in the Netherlands.

Among individual stocks, shares in Anglo American slid 3.8 percent in London after the British mining group announced plans to streamline its business as it fends off a takeover worth $43 billion from rival BHP.

Anglo said it would offload coal, diamond and platinum units to focus on critical minerals.

British mobile phone giant Vodafone said its annual profit slumped, but its shares jumped 4.2 percent as chief executive Margherita Della Valle pledged to continue the company's focus on core activities.

Google parent Alphabet rose 0.6 percent as the tech giant highlighted its artificial intelligence offerings at a developer conference.

- Key figures around 2110 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.3 percent at 39,558.11 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.5 percent at 5,246.68 (close)

New York - Nasdaq Composite: UP 0.8 percent at 16,511.18 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 8,428.13 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 8,225.80 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.1 percent at 18,716.42 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 5,080.29 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 38,356.06 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 19,073.71 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,145.77 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0819 from $1.0790 on Monday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2590 from $1.2559

Dollar/yen: UP at 156.40 yen from 156.22 yen

Euro/pound: UP at 85.92 from 85.91 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.4 percent at $78.02 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 1.2 percent at $82.38 per barrel

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