A late drop robbed the S&P 500 of another record high on Wall Street Monday and left major indexes mostly lower after being up for much of the day. The S&P 500 ended 0.3% lower. It was up as much as 1% earlier. The Nasdaq fell 1.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a tiny gain. The market was higher for much of the day as traders were relieved to learn President Biden would renominate Jerome Powell to another term as chair of the Federal Reserve, the AP reports. The S&P 500 fell 15.02 points, to 4,682.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.27 points, or less than 0.1%, to 35,619.25. The Nasdaq fell 202.68 points, to 15,854.76.
"Powell getting the nod is a sign that Biden is staying the course on monetary policy and the Fed is steadily moving toward normalizing policy," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. "On the whole, the Fed is going to continue to be a force for monetary stability. "The central bank is starting to trim bond purchases that have helped maintain low interest rates in an effort to support the economy and markets. The move to ease up on that support comes as rising inflation hangs over the economic recovery. Investors are closely watching the Fed to see whether pressure from rising inflation prompts it to speed up its plans for trimming bond purchases and raising its benchmark interest rate.
More than 70% of the stocks in the benchmark S&P 500 rose. Companies that make household and personal care products made solid gains. Procter & Gamble rose 0.7% and Kroger rose 4.8%. A mix of companies that rely on consumer spending also helped lift the market, though some big retailers fell. Target dropped 2.4% and Amazon fell 2.8%. Those retailers are on the cusp of the busy holiday shopping season, which traditionally kicks off right after the Thanksgiving holiday. The dollar also strengthened against other currencies. The price of gold, a haven for when investors feel anxious, fell 2.4%.
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