U.S. stocks rise ahead of expected interest rate hike by Fed

 The New York Stock Exchange
Stock indexes swayed between modest gains and losses for much of the day before a burst of buying in the final hour of trading.
(Julia Nikhinson / Associated Press)

A choppy day of trading on Wall Street ended with stocks closing higher Monday as investors brace for another big interest rate increase this week from the Federal Reserve.

The indexes swayed between modest gains and losses for much of the day before a burst of buying in the final hour of trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.7%, climbing back from a 0.9% slide. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.6%, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8%.

Technology companies, retailers, banks and industrial companies helped lift the market. Apple rose 2.5%, Home Depot gained 1.6%, Bank of America added 1.7% and United Airlines closed 3.3% higher.

Healthcare and real estate stocks fell, tempering gains elsewhere in the market. Pfizer fell 1.3% and Welltower slid 2.2%.


The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to follow expectations for Fed action, rose to 3.94% from 3.87% late Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, rose to 3.49% from 3.45%.

Smaller-company stocks also gained ground. The Russell 2000 closed 0.8% higher.

Trading volume was lower than usual, a sign most traders were not eager to make big changes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate policy announcement Wednesday afternoon, said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer at Horizon Investments.

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“No one really wants to position ahead of it,” he said. “It’s been such a slippery market on both the upside and the downside.”

The S&P 500 rose 26.56 points to 3,899.89, the Dow added 197.26 points to close at 31,019.68, the Nasdaq climbed 86.62 points to 11,535.02 and the Russell 2000 increased 14.65 points to 1,812.84.

Wall Street remains focused on inflation and the Federal Reserve’s attempt to lower prices by aggressively raising interest rates. On Wednesday, the central bank will announce its latest decision on rates. It is expected to raise its benchmark rate, which influences interest rates throughout the economy, another three-quarters of a percentage point.

The broader market is coming off its worst week in three months after a surprisingly hot report on inflation and big companies, including FedEx, warning about worsening trends in the economy.

Wall Street has been worried that the Fed’s plan to cool the hottest inflation in four decades could be too aggressive and throw the economy into a recession by pumping the brakes on growth too hard. Higher rates also tend to weigh on stocks, especially the pricier technology sector.

The weekly Freddie Mac survey is a widely followed reference point for the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage.

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Investors will get another update on the housing sector Wednesday when the National Assn. of Realtors releases August figures for sales of previously occupied homes.

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates climbed above 6% last week for the first time since the housing crash of 2008. The higher rates could make an already-tight housing market even more expensive for American home buyers.

Britain was observing a day of mourning for Queen Elizabeth II. Germany’s DAX rose 0.5% while the CAC 40 in Paris fell 0.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1% while the Shanghai Composite index shed 0.3%. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.