Stocks open higher on gains at retailers including Macy’s

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks open solidly in the green on Wall Street as investors applaud a strong slew of quarterly results from Macy’s and other retailers. The better-than-expected reports helped ease investor concerns about the sector, which suffered heavy losses last week after Target and Walmart reported dismal results. Macy’s and a few other major retailers, including Dollar General, soared after reporting they were doing well despite significantly higher inflation. The S&P 500 climbed 1% early Thursday, keeping the benchmark on track for its first weekly gain after seven weeks of losses. European markets were higher.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. markets rose ahead of the open, a day after details from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting confirmed expectations of further interest rate hikes, but no big surprises.

On Wall Street, futures on the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8%, as did the S&P 500.

Investors are concerned about the impact of interest rate hikes in the United States and other Western economies on slowing runaway inflation. Wednesday’s Fed statement showed board members backing 0.5 percentage point hikes at their next two meetings. This will weigh on economic activity, but has already been priced into equity prices.

There were no “hawkish or dovish surprises” or mentions of a larger increase, ActivTrades’ Anderson Alves said in a report.

At noon, the DAX in Frankfurt and the CAC in Paris each advanced by 0.8%. London’s FTSE 100 oscillated between small gains and losses.

VMware shares rose in premarket trading after computer chip and software maker Broadcom announced it would acquire the cloud technology company for $61 billion. VMware rose more than 30% this week on rumors that a deal was imminent. If the combination goes through, it will be one of the biggest deals of the year, despite rising inflation and some economic uncertainty.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9% on Wednesday after this month’s Fed meeting showed board members agreed to half-point rate hikes.” would probably be appropriate”. This would be double the usual margin of increase.

The Dow gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% to 3,123.11 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.3% to 26,604.84. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.3% to 20,116.20.

The Kospi in Seoul fell 0.2% to 2,612.45 after South Korea’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 1.75%.

“With pricing pressures expected to remain elevated in the near term, we expect the Bank to continue to rise rapidly over the coming months,” Capital Economics’ Alex Holmes said in a report.

Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 ended down 0.7% at 7,105.90.

India’s Sensex gained 0.8% to 54,173.63. New Zealand fell while Southeast Asian markets rose.

Investors are also worried about the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and a sharp and unexpected Chinese economic slowdown.

They hope the Fed can calm inflation, which is at its highest level in four decades, without tipping the world’s largest economy into recession.

The Fed raised its key rate by 0.5 percentage points at its May meeting in its most aggressive move in two decades. This indicated that more hikes were to come.

The S&P 500 is coming off a seven-week streak of declines that nearly ended the equity bull market that began in March 2020.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 88 cents to $111.21 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price base for international oils, gained 56 cents to $111.68 a barrel in London.

The dollar fell to 127.01 yen from 127.32 yen. The euro rose to $1.0713.

Garland K. Long