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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Wall Street Ends Higher on Economic Data; Arm Soars in Debut

The S&P 500 ended higher on Thursday as hotter-than-expected economic data eased worries about a recession without raising fears of a Federal Reserve rate hike next week, while Arm Holdings soared in its stock market debut.

SoftBank’s Arm was valued at nearly $60 billion in a strong Nasdaq debut, with the chip designer’s shares soaring in their first day of trading.

Retail sales rose more than expected in August on higher gasoline prices, while initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed to a seasonally adjusted 220,000 for the week ended Sept. 9 from 217,000 the week before.

Monthly producer prices for final demand rose 0.7% last month, against expectations of a 0.4% increase. On an annual basis, they increased 1.6% compared with estimates of a 1.2% rise.

“As long as inflation continues to be sticky we believe that the market will face more volatility and trade sideways,” said Alex McGrath, chief investment officer for NorthEnd Private Wealth, adding that falling valuations for risk assets may be “the next shoe to drop” for the U.S. stock market.

Futures tied to the Fed’s funds rate now show a 45% chance of at least one rate hike by December, up from a roughly 31% chance seen a month ago. Markets now anticipate that the Fed will cut rates for the first time in July 2024, compared with expectations a month ago that rates would begin falling by March.

“Today’s economic data confirms the path toward a soft landing, but without being so hot that the Fed thinks they might need to do a couple more rate hikes,” said Ross Mayfield, Investment Strategy Analyst at Baird. “All together, it’s pretty bullish.”

Chip designer Arm’s American Depositary Shares opened at $56.1 apiece compared with the initial public offering price of $51, in a sign of confidence for other companies planning to list their shares.

“The game is back on. Capital markets are open for business,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital LLC. “You’re going to see so many IPOs in the next 12 weeks your head is going to spin.”

Traders see a 97% chance of the Federal Reserve holding rates steady in its Sept. 20 policy meeting and a near 67% likelihood of a further pause in November, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Citigroup expects the Fed to hike interest rates by 25 basis points in November, compared with its previous forecast of a September hike.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 37.74 points, or 0.84%, to end at 4,505.18 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 112.47 points, or 0.81%, to 13,926.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 339.00 points, or 0.98%, to 34,914.53.

HP fell after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sold about 5.5 million shares of the company.

Visa slipped after the payment processing giant said it was engaging with Class B shareholders on a proposal to convert their shares to Class C or Class A.

Moderna rose after a European regulator’s advisory panel recommended authorizing an updated COVID-19 vaccine from the company.

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