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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Wall Street advances, with all eyes on Jackson Hole

Wall Street rose modestly on Wednesday, supported by gains in Salesforce and Intuit while investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference this week.

Of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, eight rose, led by real estate, up 1.06%, followed by a 0.66% gain in consumer discretionary.

Boosting the tech-heavy Nasdaq, Tesla Inc gained almost 1% ahead of its stock split, while Intuit Inc (NASDAQ: INTU) rallied 4.4% after the accounting software maker forecast upbeat fiscal 2023 revenue.

Salesforce Inc climbed 2.5% ahead of the business software seller’s quarterly report after the bell, with analysts expecting revenue to grow at its slowest pace in over a year.

The S&P 500 lost ground in the previous three sessions after a summer rally was halted by growing concerns of an aggressive stance by the Fed, an energy crisis in Europe and signs of economic slowdown in China.

Investor are now focused be on the Jackson Hole symposium that begins on Thursday, with remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Friday potentially providing clues about the pace of future rate hikes and whether the central bank can achieve a “soft landing” for the economy.

“The market is biding its time to get more information on the most important things, which are inflation and the Fed’s rate path,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta.

Traders are divided between expecting a 50-basis point hike and a 75-basis point hike by the U.S. central bank. [FEDWATCH]

President Joe Biden said the U.S. government will forgive $10,000 in student loans for many debt-saddled college-goers, a move that could boost support for his fellow Democrats in the November congressional elections but also may fuel inflation.

Helped by corporate quarterly results that were not as bad as feared, the S&P 500 has recovered 14% from its mid-June lows. The benchmark index is set to end the year a little above its current level, according to strategists recently polled by Reuters.

In afternoon trading, the S&P 500 was up 0.15% at 4,135.02 points.

The Nasdaq gained 0.43% to 12,434.61 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.03% at 32,920.86 points.

Nordstrom Inc tumbled about 19% after the retailer cut its annual revenue and profit forecasts, a sign that inflation is squeezing consumer spending on its high-end clothing and footwear.

Advancing issues outnumbered falling ones within the S&P 500 by a 1.3-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted one new high and 30 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 31 new highs and 92 new lows.

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