Stock Market Today (8/10/22): Encouraging Inflation Data Sparks Stunning Stock Rally – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

The latest inflation data catapulted stocks higher out of the gate on Wednesday, with the major market indexes rallying hard into the close.

Ahead of this morning’s opening bell, the Labor Department said its consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.5% year-over-year in July, down from June’s reading of 9.1%. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, increased 5.9% over the year-ago period. On a month-to-month basis, CPI was flat, while the core consumer price index was up 0.3%. 

Both the headline inflation reading and the core one were lower than what economists were forecasting – sparking plenty of commentary from Wall Street’s top minds on how this inflation reading will affect the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy decisions.

“Coming into today, headline CPI was expected to show some deceleration, mostly due to falling gasoline prices, but there was some concern that core inflation would continue to be problematic,” says Michael Reinking, senior market strategist at the New York Stock Exchange. “All told the report was a positive step. In August, energy prices have continued to move lower and there are signs that food pricing could begin to ease, fueling hopes that this could be the first in a series of better inflation readings.”

In the wake of today’s CPI data, market expectations for the Fed to issue a 50 basis-point rate hike (a basis point is one-one hundredth of a percentage point) shot up to 62.5% from yesterday’s reading of 32.0%, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. Projections for a 75 basis-point hike, meanwhile, have plummeted.

“The market reacted favorably with the notion that inflation has likely peaked and the Fed may be able to moderate its pace of rate hikes,” says Stephanie Lang, chief investment officer at investment advisor firm Homrich Berg. “The market quickly priced in 50 bps hike by the Fed in September being more likely than the 75 bps that was previously expected by the market.” However, as Reinking reminds us, “a lot can change between now and then, as there is still another round of employment and inflation data ahead of that meeting.”

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“While we are encouraged by the report, we believe the Fed’s job is far from over,” Lang adds. “We believe they will continue on their trajectory to raise interest rates to a restrictive stance as inflation remains far from their 2% target.”

Still, expectations for lower rate hikes and signs of easing inflation made for a broad-based rally on Wall Street, with the materials (+2.9%) and consumer discretionary (+2.9%) sectors outperforming. As for the major indexes, the Nasdaq Composite outpaced its peers with a 2.9% gain to 12,854, though the <…….


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