US stocks close higher ahead of key inflation data

NEW YORK (AFP) – Wall Street stocks ended with solid gains Monday (Sept 12), continuing the upswing last week that snapped a three-week losing streak.

Investors are looking ahead to a critical release Tuesday on US consumer prices, followed by Thursday’s report on retail sales – the last major data ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate move next week.

While inflation is expected to have eased in August, largely due to falling gasoline prices, it seems unlikely it will be enough to stave off a third consecutive three-quarter point rate hike from the Fed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 per cent to finish the day at 32,381.34, the fourth straight gain.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.1 per cent to 4,110.41, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.3 per cent to 12,266.41 Equities have been volatile in recent weeks amid alternate hopes and fears about whether the Fed might ease up on its aggressive rate hikes in the near future. Fed officials have ended the debate, saying while the increases may become smaller the benchmark lending rate will not be coming down anytime soon.

Among individual companies, Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 3.1 per cent after announcing positive clinical results on a treatment for plaque psoriasis.