Stocks tick upward ahead of Fed’s summer conference 

According to the Associated Press, stocks were up slightly today as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve’s summer conference for signs of whether the U.S. central bank thinks inflation is under control or more interest rate hikes are needed to cool it. This week’s Jackson Hole, Wyoming conference is closely watched; Fed officials have used the event in previous years to indicate changes in policy direction.

On Friday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P declined 0.1%, the Dow added 0.1%, and the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2%, but in today’s early trading, the S&P 500 rose 0.3%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.2% higher.

The S&P 500 soared in the first seven months of 2023 but has given back more than one-quarter of that gain after critics warned the market embraced the notion too early that inflation was under control and rate hikes were finished.

Some investors are shifting money to bonds as higher interest rates make their payout bigger and less risky.

Microsoft slipped 0.1% Friday, Alphabet dropped 1.9%, and Tesla sank 1.7%. Tech and other high-growth stocks are seen as some of the biggest losers due to higher rates. Several are down more than 10% from this year’s highs.

In energy markets today, benchmark U.S. crude gained 62 cents to $81.28 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oil trading, advanced 68 cents to $85.48 per barrel in London.

The dollar edged up to 145.58 yen from Friday’s 145.32 yen.