US stocks close mixed as investors weigh positive spending and jobless data against inflation concerns

Traders Aaron Ford, left, and John Panin work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange wall street stocks
  • The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. 
  • Wednesday’s data dump included a 1.3% rise in consumer spending. 
  • The Fed’s closely watched inflation measure, PCE, rose to its highest rate in 31 years. 

US stocks closed mixed but mostly showed improvement during the session as growth in consumer spending in the face of multi-year inflation appeared to help offset concerns at the Federal Reserve about sticky inflation. 

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite turned higher while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped, but finished off session lows. The consumer discretionary group on the S&P 500 pulled out a win despite Nordstrom and Gap shares each falling sharply after missing third-quarter earnings expectations, with both companies pointing to supply-chain issues. 

Investors appeared encouraged by Commerce Department data showing purchases of goods and services that were unadjusted for price changes rose 1.3% in October. That was the fastest rate since March. The run-up in spending came even as inflation gauged by the Personal Consumption Expenditures index, or PCE hit 5%, the fastest rate since 1990.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday:   

Minutes released Thursday from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting indicate more policy officials appeared uncertain about how long inflation will remain at elevated levels, suggesting they could raise interest rates sooner if prices continue to climb. Investors currently expect a rate hike in mid-2022.

Around the markets, gold slipped 0.1% to $US1,788 ($AU2,485) per ounce. The 10-year yield rose to 1.64%. 

Oil prices fell, with West Texas Intermediate crude off by 0.3% at $US78.38 ($AU109) per barrel.

Bitcoin fell by 1% to $US57,078.25 ($AU79,331).