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Stock market today: Live updates

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Stock market today: Live updates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading on March 27, 2024 in New York City. 

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

The S&P 500 ticked higher Monday as Wall Street kicked off the second quarter following a strong start to the year, and traders weighed fresh U.S. inflation data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped just 7 points, while the S&P 500 traded just above the flatline. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%.

The personal consumption expenditures price index excluding food and energy, released Friday during the market closure for Good Friday, showed inflation rose 2.8% in February, which is in line with expectations. The inflation gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve also rose 0.3% from a month ago, the Commerce Department said.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell also said Friday that policymakers don’t need to rush an interest rate cut with economic growth still strong and inflation above target.

“That means we don’t need to be in a hurry to cut,” the central bank chief told public radio’s “Marketplace” program. “The economy is strong right now, and the labor market is strong right now. And inflation has been coming down. We can and we will be careful about this decision because we can be.”

Treasury yields rose following the data release and Powell’s remarks. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was up 7 basis points at 4.269%.

The major averages are coming off a winning first quarter. The S&P 500 jumped 10.2% for its best first-quarter performance since 2019, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 5.6%. The Nasdaq Composite popped 9.1%.

Markets also wrapped up a winning March and their fifth consecutive positive month, with the S&P and Dow rising 3.1% and 2.1%, respectively. The Nasdaq edged up 1.8% for the month. Those monthly and quarterly gains brought the Dow to within striking distance of 40,000. The 30-stock Dow closed Thursday’s session at 39,807.37.

Ongoing bets on artificial intelligence stocks and tailwinds from Nvidia have continued powering the market higher in the new year after a strong 2023. That comes alongside the expectation for the start of a rate-cutting cycle from the Federal Reserve later this year, with markets pricing in a cut as soon as June.

According to Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at Carson Group, this rally could be poised to continue. He noted that the S&P finished the year higher than 10 out of the 11 previous times it notched a gain of 10% or more in the first quarter.

Correction: The S&P 500 had its best first-quarter performance since 2019. A previous version misstated the milestone.

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