Wall Street Gains Ground; Still an August Loss

Wall Street Gains Ground; Still an August Loss

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks rose modestly in morning trading on Wall Street Thursday and are on track to end a mostly miserable August on an up note.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3%. The benchmark index still on track for its first monthly loss since February, but has chipped away at the severity of the decline after four straight gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 119 points, or 0.3%, to 35,009 as of 10:13 a.m. Eastern. The Nasdaq rose 0.3%.

Technology and communications stocks led the gains. Software company Salesforce jumped 5.4% after raising its profit forecast for the year. Cloud-based security company CrowdStrike rose 7.9% after reporting strong financial results.

Dollar General was among several retailers slipping after reporting weak earnings and forecasts. It slumped 16% after cutting its profit forecast for the year.

The government reported that a measure of inflation closely tracked by the Federal Reserve remained low in July. The latest update for personal consumption and expenditures, or the PCE report, is the latest sign that price increases are cooling. Investors are hoping the Fed may be close to done raising interest rates.

The central bank has raised its main interest rate aggressively since 2022 to the highest level since 2001. The goal has been to rein inflation back to the Fed's target of 2%. PCE measured 3.3% in July, matching economists expectations. That's down from 7% a year ago.

The latest inflation data follows data on jobs and consumer confidence this week that also supports hopes for the Fed to pause interest rate hikes. The central bank held rates steady at its last meeting and is expected to do the same in September. Investors are expecting rates to hold steady for the remainder of 2023, according to CME's FedWatch tool.

Bond yields were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 4.11% from late Wednesday. The yield on the 2-year Treasury, which tracks expectations for the Fed, edged higher to 4.89% from 4.88% late Thursday.

Wall Street has one more big economic update to look forward to this week. On Friday, the government will report employment data for August.

Markets in Europe were mixed. Annual inflation there held steady in August as food prices raced ahead of falling fuel costs, but there was no clarity about whether the European Central Bank will pause its record series of interest rate hikes.

Asian markets were also mixed.