by Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange ended in disarray on Thursday, without major movements, in this final session of the week and the quarter, while investors took into account the latest economic data in anticipation of ‘a report to help us find out more about inflation.

The Dow Jones index gained 0.12%, or 47.29 points, to 39,807.37 points.

The broader S&P-500 gained 5.86 points, or 0.11%, to 5,254.35 points.

The Nasdaq Composite fell 20.06 points (0.12%) to 16,379.46 points.

The three main Wall Street indices ended the quarter with a clear increase, in particular the S&P-500, which gained more than 10% over the January-March period, its largest increase in the first quarter in five years, under the effect of the craze for artificial intelligence (AI) and the prospect of an easing of monetary policy by the American Federal Reserve (Fed) this year.

For its part, the Dow Jones has moved closer to the threshold of 40,000 points, which it has never reached, after having exceeded 39,000 points for the first time, earlier this year.

Wall Street will be closed on Friday for Easter.

Data released Thursday showed that the US economy grew more than expected in the fourth quarter, benefiting in particular from solid consumption, while weekly jobless claims fell, suggesting that the US job market remains strong.

“The economy is in good shape, the consumer is doing well and continuing to spend, unemployment remains low, and there are still pockets where the economy is thriving,” commented George Young, portfolio manager at Villere & Company, in New Orleans.

“And then there’s this carrot that the Fed is holding out, saying they might lower rates,” he added.

Despite the closure of the New York stock market on Friday, investors will scrutinize the report on personal consumption expenditures, which serves as the Fed’s main indicator of inflation, in search of potential clues on the scale and timing of rate cuts announced.

Christopher Waller, Governor of the Fed, called for caution, saying that recent inflation data, higher than expected, suggested patience in easing the monetary policy of the American central bank, without however excluding reductions in rate this year.

Markets are betting about 64% on a 25 basis point decline in June, according to FedWatch Tool.

Almost all major sectors of the S&P-500 recorded quarterly gains, led by communications services, energy and technology. Only real estate is down.

Among the movements of the day’s session, note the decline of 0.59% in Home Depot after the announcement of the acquisition of the construction materials supplier SRS Distribution for more than 18 billion dollars – an operation of significant magnitude. unprecedented for the retailer.

(Written by Jean Terzian)

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