Dow hits record high as inflation fears recede after data

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday with the Dow hitting a record high, as data showed underlying consumer prices remained tepid in February, easing concerns about a spike in inflation.

FILE PHOTO: Dividers are seen inside a trading post on the trading floor as preparations are made for the return to trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield slipped from its session highs as data showed core consumer prices index, which excludes volatile items such as food and energy, rose less than expected last month.

Focus is on an auction of U.S. 10-year and 30-year debt later in the day for clues to where yields in the recently volatile market may be headed.

“Expectations for near-term inflation to rise is going to remain due to the huge public borrowings, but the tame inflation data that has come today would definitely drive some optimism among investors,” said Arthur Weise, chief investment officer at Kingsland Growth Advisors in New York.

Accelerated vaccine rollouts and a new hefty round of fiscal stimulus on the horizon have raised bets on higher inflation, triggering a sharp rise in Treasury yields that knocked off the tech-heavy Nasdaq about 7% from its Feb. 12 record closing high.

The United States plans to double its order of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, procuring an additional 100 million doses, a White House official said on Wednesday.

The Nasdaq extended gains after logging its best one-day percentage jump in four months on Tuesday, helped by a near 20% jump in Tesla Inc’s shares as investors picked up momentum stocks that had recently taken a beating due to higher yields.

Amazon.com Inc, Microsoft Corp and Tesla extended gains by 0.8% and 4% from the previous session, while economy-linked industrial and financial stocks jumped more than 1% each.

The chunk of a $1.9 trillion relief aid, which is on track to be signed into law later this week, is poised to end up in the stock market and could provide a boost for GameStop and other stocks popular among retail investors active in online social media forums.

Shares of GameStop jumped another 19%, setting the videogame retailer on track for its longest streak of daily gains in six months and extending a rally that has already doubled the company’s market value.

Among other “meme” stocks, Koss Corp and AMC Entertainment climbed 52% and 14%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.2-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 4.1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 174 new highs and 10 new lows.

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