Wall St gains with all eyes on key inflation data © Reuters. Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., January 5, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

By Shubham Batra and Amruta Khandekar

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Wednesday with investors keenly awaiting a crucial inflation reading due later in the week for more clarity on the Federal Reserve’s rate hike trajectory.

Nearly all the major sectors rose, with real estate up 2.4% and in the lead, while consumer discretionary and technology stocks gained 1.9% and 0.6%, respectively.

Alphabet (NASDAQ:) Inc, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:) and Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc were up between 2.2% and 4.3%, among the top boosts to the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Gains in the megacap growth firms, which had lost between 39% and 65% in value last year, come as markets face renewed optimism in 2023 on hopes that slowing inflationary pressures could pave the way for a less hawkish stance from the U.S. central bank.

The highly awaited inflation report from the Labor Department on Thursday is expected to show U.S. consumer prices likely grew 6.5% year-on-year in December, moderating from a 7.1% rise in November.

“The tech leaders last year got beat up really bad and people are now wondering, did we over-do it,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading.

“But you’re going to need earnings to support more bullish theory. The bar is a little bit lower (for earnings), which could be decent for the stock market.”

This week marks the start of the earnings season for S&P 500 companies, with Wall Street’s biggest banks expected to report lower quarterly profits amid risks of a recession due to monetary policy tightening.

Markets are hoping that the Fed could soon pause its rate hiking cycle, though recent comments by some policymakers have supported the view that the Fed needs to remain aggressive in raising interest rates to fight inflation.

Money market participants see a 75% chance the Fed will raise the benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 4.50%-4.75% in February, and see rates peaking at 4.94% by June.

At 11:58 a.m. ET, the was up 101.44 points, or 0.30%, at 33,805.54, the S&P 500 was up 24.13 points, or 0.62%, at 3,943.38, and the was up 106.63 points, or 0.99%, at 10,849.26.

Home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:) jumped 45.9%, after logging gains in the previous session despite bleak quarterly results as retail investors speculated it could be a potential acquisition target and as short-sellers closed out bets.

Shares of airlines such as American Airlines (NASDAQ:) Group Inc and Spirit Airlines (NYSE:) Inc reversed premarket losses to rise between 0.9% and 1.9% as U.S. flights were slowly beginning to resume departures and a ground stop was lifted after the Federal Aviation Administration scrambled to fix a system outage overnight.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.15-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.97-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 10 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 12 new lows.


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