U.S. Stocks Tick Higher, Extending Gains

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09/11/2019 | 03:39 pm

By Akane Otani and Anna Isaac

U.S. stocks inched higher Wednesday, putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to post its sixth straight session of gains.

The blue-chip index edged up 67 points, or 0.3%, to 26976. The S&P 500 ticked up 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5%.

With not much economic data on the docket for Wednesday, markets moves were relatively muted. Investors are looking ahead to central bank meetings in the coming days when the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve are expected to cut interest rates.

"We're waiting to see policy makers react to stabilize growth," said Shawn Snyder, head of investment strategy at Citi Personal Wealth Management.

Because there is still so much uncertainty around the path of U.S.-China trade talks, "it's hard to judge what the economic outlook is," Mr. Snyder said, though he added that Citi doesn't expect a bear market in stocks in the near term.

Earnings-related news drove swings among individual stocks, with Dave & Buster's Entertainment sliding 7.5% after cutting its guidance.

GameStop shed 9% after reporting a loss for the most-recent quarter and giving a downbeat forecast for the year.

Elsewhere, markets in Europe and Asia were mostly higher. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.8% and South Korea's Kospi added 0.8% after strong jobs data.

Shares of London Stock Exchange Group gained 6.4% after Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing made an offer to buy it in a $36.56 billion cash-and-share deal.

Investors have shown signs in recent days of expecting less stimulus from the ECB when it meets Thursday.

"Ahead of the ECB meeting investors seemed to take some chips off the table with aggressive expectations being pared back," said Antoine Bouvet, senior rates strategist at ING Bank in a note.

Still, investors are still betting both the ECB and the Fed will lower rates when they meet. On Wednesday, President Trump called again for looser U.S. monetary policy, when he tweeted, "The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less, and we should then start to refinance our debt."

Expectations of lower rates helped markets climb at the start of the year, though stocks have pared some of their gains since then.

Government bond prices weakened, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rising to 1.730% from 1.706% on Tuesday after data showed producer prices rose more than expected in August. With bonds, prices move inversely to yields.

Inflation tends to hurt government bond prices because it chips away at the value of bonds' fixed payouts.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com and Anna Isaac at anna.isaac@wsj.com

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