Stock market news today: US stocks rise, building on 7-week rally December 18 | Yahoo Finance

US stocks edged higher Monday, building on a seven-week climb even as Federal Reserve officials tried to rein in high expectations for interest rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was virtually unchanged, as the index just barely notched another record close. The benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) gained nearly 0.5%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) advanced about 0.6%.

Stocks have surged as investors became increasingly convinced the Federal Reserve would make more rate cuts in 2024 than previously forecast. Those hopes got a boost last week, as policymakers recognized its efforts to cool inflation were having an impact.

But Fed officials have pushed back against bets on deeper and faster rate cuts. Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee said Sunday that it’s too early to declare victory over inflation after his New York counterpart, John Williams, said Friday that talk of rate cuts is “premature.”

Investors will closely watch Friday’s reading of the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred inflation measure, to help set expectations. Economists expect price pressures to have eased in November.

In individual corporates, US Steel (X) shares shot up 26% after Japan’s Nippon Steel said it would buy the company in a deal worth $14.9 billion. Its offer of $55 a share represents a premium of about 40% to the steelmaker’s last closing price in August.

In commodities, oil prices rose, reversing course after BP joined several container lines in halting all journeys through the Red Sea after attacks on shipping. That may disrupt flows, analysts have warned. West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) futures were changing hands a bit under $73 a barrel, while Brent crude futures (BZ=F) traded near $78 a barrel.

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