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Wall Street Hangs Near Its Records     05/21 10:28

   U.S. stocks are drifting around their record levels on Tuesday as Wall 
Street looks to be headed for another quiet day of trading.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are drifting around their record levels on 
Tuesday as Wall Street looks to be headed for another quiet day of trading.

   The S&P 500 was down 0.1% in early trading, just below its record set last 
week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3 points, or less than 0.1%, as 
of 9:40 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.3% lower after 
setting its latest all-time high.

   Indexes have climbed to records largely on expectations for the Federal 
Reserve to cut interest rates later this year as inflation hopefully cools. 
More reports showing big U.S. companies earning fatter profits than expected 
have also boosted the market.

   Palo Alto Networks joined the chorus line in delivering a stronger profit 
for the latest quarter than analysts expected. But the cybersecurity company 
also gave a forecasted range for revenue in the current quarter whose midpoint 
was a hair below analysts' expectations, and its stock slumped 6.2%.

   Lowe's sank 2.6% after also reporting better results for the latest quarter 
than analysts had feared. It said it's maintaining its forecast for revenue 
this year, including a dip of up to 3% for an important underlying sales figure 
as high interest rates keep a lid on customer activity.

   Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind Donald Trump's Truth 
Social network, fell 2.8% after disclosing a net loss of $327.6 million in its 
first quarterly report as a publicly traded company.

   They helped to offset a 3% climb for Macy's, which reported more resilient 
results for the latest quarter than analysts had expected. The company, which 
also runs Bloomingdale's stores, raised its forecasts for upcoming sales and 
profit.

   Rates for mortgages, credit cards and other payments have become more 
expensive because the Federal Reserve has been keeping its main interest rate 
at the highest level in more than two decades. It's trying to pull off a 
tightrope walk where it grinds down on the economy just enough through high 
interest rates to snuff out high inflation but not so much that it causes a 
painful recession.

   An encouraging report released last week showing inflation may finally be 
heading back in the right direction following a discouraging start to the year 
raised hopes that such a "soft landing" for the economy may be possible. It 
also strengthened hopes that the Federal Reserve will cut its main interest 
rate once or twice this year.

   Such hopes have sent Treasury yields lower, which eases the pressure on the 
stock market. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 4.40% from 4.48% 
late Monday. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for Fed 
actions, slipped to 4.82% from 4.85%.

   This week doesn't have many top-tier economic reports, and the biggest 
potential for sharp moves in the market will likely come from upcoming profit 
reports.

   The week's headliner is likely Nvidia, whose stock has rocketed higher amid 
a frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology. It will report its latest 
quarterly results on Wednesday, and expectations are high.

   Target also reports on Wednesday with Ross Stores following Thursday. They 
could offer more details on how well spending by U.S. households is holding up. 
Pressure has been rising on them amid still-high inflation, even if it's not as 
bad as before, and cracks seem to be most visible among the lowest-income 
customers.

   In stock markets abroad, indexes were lower across much of Europe and Asia.

   Indexes fell 2.1% in Hong Kong and 0.4% in Shanghai after S&P Global Market 
Intelligence raised its forecast for Chinese economic growth this year to 4.8% 
from 4.7% in April, but stressed it was not overly optimistic.

   "The overall outlook of a tepid economic recovery remains unchanged, with 
the expansion supported by enhanced policy stimulus, strengthening external 
demand and gradually improving private-sector confidence," it said in a report.

 
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