US Stocks Claw Back Some Losses Monday

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wall Street clawed back some of its sharp recent losses Monday, ahead of a week that could see more big swings in financial markets.

Investors are looking forward to key reports on consumer confidence and the U.S. job market. The Federal Reserve announces its next move on interest rates Wednesday.

The S&P 500 rose 49.45 points, or 1.2%, to close at 4,166.82. It was the first trading after the benchmark index dropped more than 10% below its high point for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 511.37, or 1.6%, to 32,928.96 points. The Nasdaq composite rose 146.47, or 1.2%, to 12,789.48.

Western Digital was the best performer in the tech sector after it reported better results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The maker of data storage products also announced plans to split its company into two, one focused on traditional disk drives, the other on flash memory. Its stock jumped 7.3%.

McDonald's reported stronger profit and revenue for the summer than analysts expected. Its stock rose 1.7% after it said it benefited from higher prices for its products in the United States and raised its dividend.

More than 3 out of 4 companies in the S&P 500 have been reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than Wall Street expected, according to FactSet. With roughly half the reports in, S&P 500 companies appear on track to deliver profit growth for the first time in a year.

"It looks like its coming in as the market had hoped, that we're past the worst of it," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

The results have also been good enough that earnings forecasts for the remainder of 2023 and 2024 seem to staying stable, he said.

Solid earnings are usually encouraging for the stock market, which tends to follow the trend of corporate profits over the long term. But Wall Street has been struggling recently due to a couple big worries. First is the mixed reaction to profit reports from some influential Big Tech companies. Their stock movements carry extra weight on the S&P 500 because of their size.

Apple will report its latest quarterly results on Thursday. Because it's the most valuable stock on Wall Street, it is also the most influential stock on the S&P 500. Already, sharp drops for Alphabet and other Big Tech members following their profit reports have shaken the market this reporting season.

Big Tech soared much more than the rest of the market early this year, which helped to lift the S&P 500 but also meant big expectations for continued growth. Those expectations perhaps grew too large.

The second big factor dragging on the stock market since its high point for the year on July 31 has been a sharp run higher in Treasury yields. When bonds are paying higher yields, investors have less appetite for pricey stocks and other investments. They also make borrowing more expensive for everyone from huge corporations to home buyers, which puts the brakes on the economy.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.89% from 4.84% late Friday. It jumped from less than 3.50% during the spring to more than 5% earlier this month, its highest level since 2007. A remarkably resilient economy and other factors have the 10-year Treasury yield catching up to the main interest rate controlled by the Fed, which is above 5.25% and at its highest level since 2001.

The Fed has jacked up its federal funds rate in hopes of slowing the economy and stock prices enough to starve high inflation of its fuel. Its next meeting on interest rates will begin Tuesday, with an announcement coming Wednesday.

The widespread expectation is that it will leave the federal funds rate, which affects overnight lending by banks, alone. What will be more important is any hints about what the Fed will do next. Fed officials have been saying they may keep rates high for a long time to ensure inflation goes down, but they've also said the recent jump in longer-term Treasury yields could be acting like rate hikes on their own.

The central bank says it will make all its upcoming moves based on what incoming data about the economy and inflation say. That's why this week could be a shaky one for markets, with many data points that could change officials' minds.

On Tuesday, the government will release data on employment costs from July through September. Workers have been fighting for higher raises, but the Fed worries that too-high pay increases could give inflation more fuel. Also, The Conference Board will release its consumer confidence index for October.

On Wednesday will come the latest monthly update on the number of job openings across the country. One way the Fed could pull off the delicate balancing act of slowing the economy without creating a recession would be if the number of job openings cools without requiring waves of layoffs.

And then on Friday will come the jobs report for October, which is typically one of the most anticipated pieces of economic data every month.

Through it all will be other updates on the economy and borrowing by the U.S. government, as well as profit reports from roughly 150 companies in the S&P 500, including CVS Health, Pfizer and Starbucks.

Several oil-and-gas producers will also be reporting, including Marathon Petroleum. They've benefited from a run higher in crude prices since the summer. A barrel of U.S. crude jumped from less than $70 to more than $93 earlier this month.

But oil prices have been shaky since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war. Traders are still uncertain about whether the fighting will spill into the politics around the region and affect production from Iran or other big suppliers.

A barrel of U.S. crude fell 3.8% Monday to $82.31. Brent crude, the international standard, sank 3.3% to $87.45 per barrel.

In stock markets abroad, indexes rose in Europe.