Nasdaq climbs to second straight record, Dow, S&P little changed

Microsoft Corp. flirts with $2T market cap

U.S. equity markets ended little changed Wednesday amid a quiet session as investors continued to assess the Federal Reserve’s views on inflation. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 71 points, or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.11% and Nasdaq Composite rose 0.13% to the second consecutive record close.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 35061.55 +238.20 +0.68%
SP500 S&P 500 4411.79 +44.31 +1.01%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14836.991139 +152.39 +1.04%

The choppy trade comes a day after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated his belief that the recent uptick in inflation is transitory.

POWELL SAYS FED WILL WAIT FOR 'ACTUAL INFLATION' BEFORE RAISING INTEREST RATES

In stocks, Microsoft Corp. shares were in focus as the tech stalwart closes in on a $2 trillion valuation. Shares need to finish at or above $265.55 apiece in order for Microsoft to become the second company, behind Apple, to reach the level. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
MSFT MICROSOFT CORP. 289.67 +3.53 +1.23%
RIOT RIOT BLOCKCHAIN INC 28.10 -0.77 -2.67%
MSTR MICROSTRATEGY, INC. 539.71 -16.23 -2.92%

Crypto-related names like MicroStrategy Inc. and Riot Blockchain Inc. continued to bounce back after bitcoin rallied to above $34,000 a coin after trading below $29,000 the prior session.  

Elsewhere, Southwest Airlines Co. CEO Gary Kelly will transition to executive chairman in 2022. He will be replaced by Robert Jordan, who currently serves as executive vice president of corporate sales. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 50.70 -0.59 -1.15%
WGO WINNEBAGO INDUSTRIES, INC. 68.75 +1.02 +1.51%

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shares were sharply lower after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the structure of the agency that oversees the mortgage giants was unconstitutional. The case was sent back to a lower court for additional proceedings.

FANNIE MAE, FREDDIE MAC SHARES CRATER AFTER SUPREME COURT RULING

In earnings, Winnebago Industries Inc. reported record quarterly earnings and revenue as the pandemic fueled strong demand for an active outdoor lifestyle. The RV maker said its record backlog grew 252% from a year ago to 46,646 units. 

Oil majors ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. gained as oil prices held near their highest level in over two years.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP. 57.04 -0.07 -0.12%
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 98.89 +0.11 +0.11%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 23 cents to $73.08 a barrel and gold advanced $6 to $1,782.30 an ounce.

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Overseas markets were mostly lower. 

France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX 30 declined 0.91% and 1.15%, respectively, despite eurozone business growth accelerating at its fastest pace in 15 years. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.22%. 

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.03%, China’s Shanghai Composite climbed 0.25% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1.79%.