US STOCKS-Wall St little changed as investors eye inflation data


By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday, giving up modest gains late in the session, as investors awaited economic data in a holiday-shortened week to gauge the Federal Reserve's policy path.

Stocks struggled for upward momentum even as Tesla TSLA.Ogained after CEO Elon Musk unveiled the electric-vehicle maker's one-month trial of its Full Self-Driving technology to existing and new customers in the United States. The stock is up nearly 5% for the week but remains down nearly 28% for the year.

The index is expected to have risen 0.4% in February and 2.5% annually. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy components, is estimated to have advanced 0.3% last month, keeping the annual pace at 2.8%, economists polled by Reuters said.

"The big number is Friday. That's the number everyone's going to pay attention to and whatever happens in the meantime is going to be noise, so I don't anticipate a whole lot happening until we get that data point," said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in San Francisco.

"The one thing that would be death, death for this market is if somehow something came out that led people to believe that the fed funds rate has not topped out yet. If for some reason people thought the Fed was even giving an inkling to raising rates further, stand out of the way."

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 14.09 points, or 0.27%, to end at 5,204.10 points, while the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC lost 68.77 points, or 0.42%, to 16,320.64. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 19.06 points, or 0.05%, to 39,294.58.

The three major U.S. indexes hit record highs last week after the Fed maintained its projection for three interest-rate cuts this year.

Markets have been slowly increasing expectations the central bank will cut rates by at least 25 basis points in June, currently pricing in a 70.4% chance, the CME'sFedWatch Toolshowed, up from 59.2% last week.

Trump Media & Technology group DJT.O surged as it kicked off its first day of trading after completing a reverse merger with a blank check firm.

McCormick MKC.Njumped as the best performer on the S&P 500 .SPX after the spice maker beat market expectations for first-quarter sales and profit.

Seagate Technology STX.O climbed after Morgan Stanley upgraded the computer hard-drive maker's rating to "overweight" from "equal-weight."

United Parcel Service UPS.N shares tumbled, however, after announcing its 2026 forecast.

Durable goods https://reut.rs/3ISLQMZ

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Richard Chang)

((charles.mikolajczak@tr.com; @ChuckMik;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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