Wall Street Rises Back Toward Records

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are rising Monday ahead of a busy week for central banks around the world that could dictate where interest rates go.

The S&P 500 was 0.9% higher in early trading, coming off its first back-to-back weekly loss since October. It's pulling close to its all-time high set early last week. Nvidia and other big technology stocks are leading the way, as has usually been the case.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 80 points, or 0.2%, as of 9:40 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 1.6% higher.

The highlight for Wall Street this week will likely be the Federal Reserve's meeting on interest rates, which ends on Wednesday. The widespread expectation is for the central bank to hold its main interest rate steady at its highest level since 2001.

But Fed officials will also give updated forecasts for where they see interest rates heading over the course of this year and in the long run. They earlier had penciled in three cuts to rates this year, which would relieve pressure on the economy and financial system.

Recent reports on inflation have consistently been coming in worse than expected, though. That could force the Fed to say fewer rate cuts will come this year.

Such a move would be a sore disappointment for Wall Street, where stock prices have already run up partly on expectations for lower rates. Treasury yields in the bond market have also eased since last autumn on such expectations, though they've pared those losses on worries about stubbornly high inflation.

Across the Pacific, the Bank of Japan will also announce its latest decision on interest rates on Tuesday. It hasn't touched its benchmark interest rate for 17 years, as it's kept rates below zero in hopes of goosing the economy and inflation.

Speculation is rising that wages for Japanese workers are rising enough for the Bank of Japan to finally move rates higher.

Across the Atlantic, the Bank of England will announce its latest decision on rates later in the week.

On Wall Street, Nvidia rose 4.8% as it kicked off its annual conference for developers. Analysts say the widespread expectation is for Nvidia to unveil its next generation artificial-intelligence architecture, along with the growing use cases for AI.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang will give a keynote address after trading closes for the day on Wall Street, while holding a Q&A with financial analysts Tuesday morning.

A frenzy around AI technology on Wall Street has sent the stocks of Nvidia and other players zooming so high that critics call it a bubble. Nvidia has grown into the U.S. stock market's third-largest stock. Nvidia once again was the strongest force pushing the S&P 500 higher Monday.

On the losing end of Wall Street was Hertz Global Holdings, which skidded 7% to bring its loss for the year so far to 43%. Its chair and CEO, Stephen Scherr, will resign at the end of March. The company named Wayne "Gil" West as its CEO. He's a former executive at Cruise, the self-driving car company, and at Delta Air Lines.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was holding steady at 4.31%, where it was late Friday.

In stock markets abroad, Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 2.7%. Shares of both Nissan Motor and Honda Motor Co.'s shares climbed after the two automakers agreed on a partnership in electric vehicles.

Outside of a 1% jump for stocks in Shanghai, moves were much more modest elsewhere across Asia and Europe.