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Indices Close at Record Highs

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite popped to record highs Wednesday and added to their strong 2024 performances. The major averages were boosted by a lighter-than-expected U.S. consumer inflation report.

The Dow Jones Industrials popped 349.89 points to 39,908.

The S&P 500 surged 61.47 points, or 1.2%, to 5,308.15.

The tech-heavy index rocketed 231.21 points, or 1.4%, to 16,742.39.

All three major averages closed at records. Year to date, this is the 23rd record close for the S&P 500, the 18th for the Dow and eighth for the NASDAQ.

Stocks have been on a tear this year, as expectations for lower Fed rates and enthusiasm around artificial intelligence — and its potential to boost profits — lifted investor sentiment. The S&P 500 is up more than 11% year to date. That said, the broad market index stumbled last month as worries over sticky inflation pressured equities.

Market leaders such as Nvidia popped upon the inflation reading, with shares of the GPU manufacturer rising 3.6%. Tech titans Apple and Microsoft both added more than 1%.

The CPI rose 0.3% for the month of April, less than the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.4% monthly increase. The gauge increased by 3.4% year over year, in line with expectations. Monthly and yearly numbers for core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, were both in line as well.

The report boosted expectations for Federal Reserve rate cuts in the near future. Fed funds futures trading data now suggests a 51.7% likelihood that the U.S. central bank will ease rates at its September meeting, up from Tuesday’s 44.9% chance of a rate cut the same month.

Prices for the 10-year Treasury rocketed, lowering yields to 4.35% from Tuesday’s 4.44%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices gained 87 cents to $78.89 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices hopped $32.00 to $2,386.80.

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