Wall Street climbs ahead of Big Tech profit reports and Fed meeting

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose Monday to kick off a week where Wall Street’s most influential stocks may show whether the huge expectations built up for them are justified.

The S&P 500 gained 36.96 points, or 0.8%, to set another record at 4,927.93. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 224.02, or 0.6%, to 38,333.45, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 172.68, or 1.1%, to 15,628.04.

Big Tech stocks are the main reason the S&P 500 has soared more than 35% to a record since two autumns ago. A small handful of seven has been responsible for the majority of the index’s returns over that time, propelled by a furor around artificial-intelligence technology and expectations for continued dominance.

Five members of that group, nicknamed “the Magnificent Seven,” will report their latest quarterly profits this upcoming week: Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta Platforms and Microsoft.

Because they’re so much more massive in size than almost every other stock, their movements pack much more weight on the S&P 500 and other indexes. They’ll need to meet analysts’ expectations for growth to justify their huge recent moves.

And that’s not all that’s coming this week.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will make its latest decision on what to do with interest rates. Traders expect it to make no move, but the hope is that it may cut interest rates at its next meeting in March. That would mark the first downward move since the Fed began dramatically raising interest rates two years ago to get inflation under control.

Goldman Sachs economist David Mericle expects the Fed “to aim to keep a March cut on the table.” It could do that by dropping the “for some time” qualifier it used in the minutes for its last meeting in describing how long it expects to keep rates high.

A wave of encouraging data has Wall Street believing its dream scenario can come true: The Fed will successfully conquer high inflation and deliver the cuts to rates that investors crave, while the economy skirts through without falling into a recession that seemed inevitable last year.


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