Stocks Edge Up After Nasdaq Hits Record – The Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks traded in a narrow range Wednesday, holding onto gains from earlier in the week as the S&P hovered just shy of its all-time high.

The broad U.S. stock index added 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovered around the flatline. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%, a day after it closed at a record.

For much of this year, stocks have surged from their pandemic-induced lows, buoyed by a strengthening economy, supportive monetary policy and plentiful government spending. The S&P 500 has gained about 90% since its closing low last March.

With stocks trading near all-time highs, investors are struggling to discern the path forward. They have lately focused on signs of inflation, which could lead the Federal Reserve to lift interest rates from the near-zero levels adopted in response to the pandemic. Low rates boost the value of future cash slows in commonly-used stock valuation models.

Stocks sold off last week after Fed officials signaled they expect to raise interest rates by late 2023, sooner than they had previously anticipated, because of the strong economic rebound and jump in inflation.