U.S. stocks were mixed on Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% after wavering between small gains and losses most of the morning. The index regained its footing in the final hour of trading.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped less than 0.1% on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.4%, getting a lift from a late-afternoon rally in technology stocks.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its October policy meeting. Fed officials are ready to take measures to improve the situation. The minutes also revealed that officials believe that inflation is temporary. But they acknowledged that the rise in prices surpassed expectations. The meeting mentioned above was quite important. At the meeting, Fed officials voted to take the first steps to roll back the massive support it provided to the economy struggling to recover from the global pandemic.
Companies have to deal with several problems. Supply chain problems, as well as pressure from inflation, continue to affect various industries. Many companies already warned that they are having trouble meeting demand and are dealing with higher costs for raw materials.
The S&P 500 gained 10.76 points to 4,701.46. The benchmark index set an all-time last Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 9.42 points to 35,804.38 on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite added 70.09 points to 15,845.23.
Small-company stocks also strengthened their positions. The Russell 2000 Index advanced 3.60 points or 0.2% to end at 2,331.46.
One day before the Thanksgiving holiday, slightly more stocks in the S&P 500 index fell than rose. Gains in real estate, technology, as well as energy stocks overshadowed a drop in banks, materials companies, and other sectors.
Investors monitored the last batch of quarterly report cards. HP advanced 10.5% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting solid financial results. Autodesk dropped 15.5% after the company warned investors that supply chain problems and pressure from inflation affected the pace of its recovery.
A mix of retailers that depend on direct consumer spending also turned turbulent. Gap fell 24.1% after the clothing chain said supply chain problems reduced its third-quarter earnings and revenue. Nordstrom fell 29% after reporting weak third-quarter earnings.
Energy stocks made gains on Wednesday as crude oil prices remained relatively stable and natural gas prices rose. Devon Energy gained 3.8%.
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