US stocks end pre-holiday session mostly up

NEW YORK – Wall Street stocks finished a choppy session mostly higher on Dec 22, in a quiet finale to another winning week following benign inflation data.

The personal consumption expenditures price index rose 2.6 per cent from a year ago in November, below October’s 2.9 per cent figure.

The data, which is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve, bolsters expectations that the US central bank will soon cut interest rates.

The broad-based S&P 500 finished at 4,754.63, up 0.2 per cent for the day and 0.8 per cent for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1 per cent to 37,385.97, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 per cent at 14,992.97.

Analysts said trading volumes were depressed, with many investors on vacation ahead of Dec 25’s Christmas holiday, when markets will be closed.

Spartan Capital’s Peter Cardillo characterised the inflation data as “good news,” saying it indicates “the rates will move lower.”

Among individual companies, sports giant Nike saw its shares tumble 11.8 per cent early on Dec 22, after it promised up to US$2 billion (S$2.6 billion) in cost savings involving job cuts, as it eyes softer sales in the coming period.

Cummins dropped 2.9 per cent after it agreed to pay US$1.7 billion to settle claims it installed devices to defeat emissions controls in hundreds of thousands of pickup truck engines.

Cummins said the settlement with federal and state officials needs court approval. AFP

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