By DAMIAN J. TROISE
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks shifted between gains and losses on Wall Street Wednesday morning, keeping the market on track for its fourth monthly loss this year.
The S&P 500 was up 0.1% after the first hour of trading. The benchmark index has been volatile all week, and is down 20% for the year as investors worry about inflation and rising interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5% and the Nasdaq edged up 0.2%.
Bed Bath & Beyond plunged 21% after reporting a far bigger loss than analysts expected and replacing its CEO. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.13%.
The government reported that the economy shrank at a 1.6% annual pace in the first three months of the year, its third and final estimate for GDP in the first three months of 2022. That figure was in line with previous estimates, and economists expect growth to resume later this year.
Investors have been closely watching economic data as they try to determine how deeply inflation is hurting consumers and businesses, while also keeping an eye on the Federal Reserve’s aggressive shift to raise interest rates.
The central bank is raising rates in an attempt to slow economic growth enough to temper inflation, but Wall Street is wary that the Fed could go too far and push the economy into a recession. Those concerns have been heightened by a series of reports showing a slowdown in retail sales and other indicators.
Lingering supply problems and a sharp jump in demand as the pandemic faded sparked a rise in inflation. It has grown worse through the year as supply chain problems worsened following new lockdowns in China to help control COVID-19 cases. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February sent energy prices higher and resulted in record high gasoline prices that have been eating away at consumers’ wallets.
Consumers have shifted spending from discretionary items like electronics to necessities as inflation grows hotter. A weaker-than-expected consumer confidence reading on Tuesday revealed that persistently high inflation was making Americans more pessimistic about both the present and future.
Impacts from the shift in spending is a key focus for investors as companies start to report their latest financial results. Cheerios maker General Mills rose 5.2% after reporting solid financial results and giving investors an encouraging forecast.
Health care companies gained ground. Pfizer rose 1%. Industrial firms and retailers fell. FedEx fell 4% and Target slipped 1.4%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 3.13% from 3.20% late Tuesday.
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