Stock market today: Wall Street rises ahead of highly anticipated Federal Reserve meeting

Stock market today: Wall Street rises ahead of highly anticipated Federal Reserve meeting

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By ZIMO ZHONG and MATT OTT Associated Press

Wall Street rose early Monday ahead of this week's policy decision from the Federal Reserve.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.7% before the bell, while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.2%.

Nasdaq futures rose more than 1% after the exchange said a connectivity issue had caused some orders to be cancelled. Nasdaq announced shortly after 7 a.m. ET that the issue had been resolved after more than two hours of outage.

Google's parent company Alphabet rose 5.5% before the bell on reports that the tech giant is in talks with Apple to license Gemini to the iPhone maker. Gemini is Alphabet's generative AI software suite.

Wall Street is coming off its second straight week of losses after multiple reports showed that inflation, while generally cooling, remains persistent.

Inflation remains the big concern on Wall Street amid hopes that the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates. The Federal Reserve sharply raised interest rates starting in 2022 in an effort to control inflation and return it to its 2% goal. Inflation at the consumer level reached 9.1% in 2022.

A consumer price report last week showed inflation remains persistent, rising to 3.2% in February from 3.1% in January. Another report on wholesale prices also showed that inflation remains higher than Wall Street expected.

Other reports last week showed some weakening in the economy, bolstering hopes for a continued decline in long-term inflation.

The stock rally that began in October has essentially stalled this month as investors question the path forward for inflation, the Federal Reserve and the economy.

Fed officials will give their latest forecasts on where they see interest rates heading this year on Wednesday, following their latest monetary policy meeting. Traders are still leaning toward a rate cut in June, according to data from CME Group. The Federal Reserve's main interest rate remains at its highest level since 2001.

In Europe at midday, Germany's DAX was up 0.3% and London's FTSE 100 was up 0.2% as was Paris' CAC 40.

Chinese data for January-February was mixed: real estate investment fell while other indicators showed improvement.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.7% to 39,740.44. Markets are awaiting a decision from the Bank of Japan on Tuesday on whether it will raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time in 17 years. Since 2016, the rate has remained at -0.1%.

Signs that employers are planning solid wage increases appear to have influenced the central bank to finally move away from the massive monetary easing employed for many years to try to stimulate growth in a country where the population is falling and aging rapidly.

Shares of Nissan Motor Co. rose 4.1% and shares of Honda Motor Co. rose 2.7% after the two automakers agreed to a strategic partnership in electric vehicles.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1% to 16,737.12, and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1% to 3,084.93.

Dongfeng Motor Group shares rose 17% after reports that China plans new policies to further boost its fast-growing electric vehicle sector.

Elsewhere, Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.1% to 7,675.80, and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.7% to 2,685.84.

In India, the Sensex rose 0.3% and in Bangkok the SET rose 0.1%.

In other trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil added 45 cents to $81.49 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 39 cents to $85.73 a barrel.

The US dollar was unchanged against the Japanese yen from 149.03 yen. The euro cost $1.0904, down from $1.0887.

On Friday, Wall Street closed its second straight week of losses, giving up some of the gains that helped propel the stock market to a record high earlier in the week.

The S&P 500 fell 0.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite closed down 1%.

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