Wall Street Loiters Near Highs in Subdued Trading Session

Wall Street

Stocks on Wednesday hover near record highs, continuing a trend of subdued trading over the last several days.

The S&P 500 held virtually flat in early trading, after recently reaching another record close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also little changed, off 20 points, or less than 0.1%, as of 10:45 a.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq composite was up 0.1%, also shy of a recent record.

Target’s shares plunged 7.4% after the retailer reported quarterly profit and a profit forecast that fell short of analysts’ expectations, citing reduced consumer spending on nonessentials. Target this week has also announced price cuts on thousands of everyday items to attract customers coping with the lingering effects of inflation.

Lululemon Athletica shares sank 6.7% after it announced that its chief product officer, Sun Choe, will leave the company this month to pursue another opportunity. The company also unveiled a new organizational structure that will not replace the chief product officer role.

On the upside, Petco Health & Wellness shares jumped 31.8% after reporting better-than-expected quarterly results and revenue. TJX, the off-price retailer behind TJ Maxx and Marshalls, climbed 6.9% after it topped earnings expectations and raised its full-year earnings per share forecast, helped by its value focus.

The day’s most anticipated earnings report is from Nvidia , due out after the close. Analysts expect another strong quarter driven by high demand for AI-related chips. The stock, now the third largest on Wall Street, plays a major role in the market’s AI-fueled enthusiasm.

In the bond market, Treasury yields rose in advance of the release in the afternoon of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting. Recent signs of easing inflation and a cooling economy have raised hopes that the Fed could cut interest rates later this year. But Fed officials have said they need to see more consistent data showing improvement.

Higher interest rates have pushed up borrowing costs for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages. A report Wednesday showed a bigger-than-expected decline in sales of previously occupied homes last month.

Globally, central banks seem keen to cut interest rates but may proceed cautiously because their economies are holding up well and inflation remains elevated, said Athanasios Vamvakidis, a strategist at Bank of America. He looks for only modest rate cuts, and possibly not as soon as markets are currently expecting.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 4.43% from 4.41% late Tuesday.

Overseas, stock indexes were mostly lower in Europe and Asia. London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.8% after stronger-than-expected inflation data from the U.K. Office for National Statistics dimmed hopes for a rate cut in June. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 also declined 0.8% after Japan reported a widening trade deficit last month.