Stocks were mostly higher on Wednesday after new data for consumer prices showed muted inflation pressures on the economy, while the passage of a new $1.9 trillion stimulus package led stronger sentiment for a faster recovery.
The Labor Department reported that consumer prices rose 0.4% in February, matching consensus expectations and easing fears of out-of-control inflation rates as the economy begins to reopen. This was a mild acceleration from January's 0.3% gain and the ninth consecutive month of gains. The Consumer Price Index gained 1.7% on a year-over-year basis, also in line with estimates.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Wednesday afternoon, with President Joe Biden expected to sign it by Friday.
Here's how the market settled on Wednesday:
S&P 500 Index (SPY ): +0.60% or +23.32 points to 3,898.76
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA ): +1.46% or +464.35 points to 32,297.09
Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ ): -0.04% or -4.99 points to 13,068.83
For Stocks, shares of the online gaming platform Roblox (RBLX ) opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $64.50 each, popping 43% from the company's direct listing reference price of $45 per share. The "meme stock" GameStop (GME ) went on a rollercoaster on Wednesday, with sharing rising to an intraday high of $348.50 before plunging below $200, triggering a circuit breaker. Despite the rapid sell-off, the stock ended the day higher at $265.
For Sector Performance, sectors on the S&P 500 ended mostly higher on Wednesday, with only Information Technology (XLK ) sinking into negative territory. Energy (XLE ) was the largest gainer at over 2%, while Financials (XLF ), Materials (XLB ), Industrials (XLI ) and Consumer Staples (XLP ) rose over 1%.
For Commodities and Currency, the U.S. Dollar (UUP ) slipped lower on Wednesday following a muted U.S. inflation report, boosting risk sentiment for other currencies. The dollar index, which track the greenback against rival currencies, edged 0.17% lower at 91.845. Gold (GLD ) prices rose slightly higher on falling dollar values and easing U.S. Treasury yields on Wednesday. Spot gold was 0.2% higher at $1,718.36 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures settled 0.19% higher at $1,720.00 per ounce. Crude oil futures rose on Wednesday despite a huge jump in U.S. inventories this week. However, more positive global recovery outlooks and the easing U.S. dollar benefitted barrel prices. International benchmark Brent Crude (BNO ) rose 0.56% to $67.90 per barrel, while domestic index West Texas Intermediate (USO ) settled 0.67% higher at $64.44 each.
For Thursday, investors will turn their attention to fresh weekly U.S. unemployment data.