US stocks rise ahead of key inflation data

Wall Street stocks closed higher on Wednesday as traders await key US consumer inflation data, while shrugging off hotter than expected wholesale price increases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.2 percent up at 33,804.87.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent to 4,376.95, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.7 percent to 13,659.68.

Recent Federal Reserve officials’ comments “had two hawks dial down the immediate need for further tightening,” noted Edward Moya of the OANDA trading platform in a note.

“But too many geopolitical risks and (the) start of earnings season has investors cautiously buying into this rally,” he added.

Minutes from the most recent Fed policy meeting showed on Wednesday that officials agreed to hold rates high “for some time” until confident that inflation is cooling sustainably.

“But those minutes were before the conflict between Israel and Hamas,” said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital.

That was probably why markets “didn’t react” to the Fed’s tone, he added.

Traders are monitoring developments in the Middle East after a surprise assault by Hamas militants on Israel on Saturday.

The situation has spiraled into war with at least 1,200 people killed in Israel, while Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed more than 1,000 people according to officials.

Among individual companies, shares of German sandals maker Birkenstock fell 12.9 percent from their introductory price after the company’s New York Stock Exchange debut.

Looking ahead, Moya warned that the consumer price index, a key inflation gauge, could come in hot on Thursday, given that producer prices were boosted by higher energy and food prices.

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