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Wall St rises as rate-pause bets remain unchanged after CPI data

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– Wall Street’s main indexes rose on Wednesday as data showing a moderate increase in consumer prices in August raised hopes the Federal Reserve could leave interest rates unchanged in its September policy meet.

Consumer price inflation rose in line with expectations on a monthly basis by 0.6% in August, compared with a 0.2% rise in July, but core inflation rose by a more-than-expected 0.3% last month.

On a yearly basis, the headline inflation rose marginally higher than expected at 3.7% in August compared with a 3.2% increase in July.

Gasoline prices accelerated in August, peaking at $3.984 per gallon in the third week of the month, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That compared to $3.676 per gallon during the same period in July.

“Inflation is already contained so these monthly numbers are more noise than substantive,” said Jay Hatfield, chief executive officer at Infrastructure Capital Management.

“It is really a reflection of the fact that there is a bleed through of energy prices to core and our models show the energy prices are likely to stay range bound, so we do think that inflation’s contained.”

Traders see a 97% chance of the Fed holding rates in September and a near 58% likelihood of a pause in November, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

The Fed is likely to cut rates only from April-June next year, a poll showed.

Yield on the two-year Treasury note, which best reflects short-term interest rate expectations, hovered around 4.9967%.

Major megacap growth stocks were mixed, with Tesla (NASDAQ:) and Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:) up 1.9% and 1.2%, respectively, while Apple (NASDAQ:) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:) lost 0.6% and 0.4%, respectively.

Investors will now shift focus to August producer prices and retail sales data on Thursday ahead of the Fed’s Sept. 20 policy decision.

Ford (NYSE:) gained 2.6% on plans to double production of its hybrid F-150 pickup trucks in 2024.

The consumer discretionary sector, which houses Ford, added 0.7%, to lead gains among major sectors.

At 9:47 a.m. ET, the was up 60.81 points, or 0.18%, at 34,706.80, the S&P 500 was up 7.02 points, or 0.16%, at 4,468.92, and the was up 27.41 points, or 0.20%, at 13,801.03.

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese electric-vehicle makers Li Auto, Nio (NYSE:) and Xpeng (NYSE:) fell between 1.3% and 3.4% after the European Commission started an investigation on whether to impose tariffs on their vehicles.

Sprit Airlines lost 1.6% as the low-cost carrier cut its third-quarter revenue outlook to reflect rising fuel prices.

Moderna (NASDAQ:) gained 5.4% after the drugmaker said its flu vaccine mRNA-1010 met its primary goal in a late-stage trial. The firm also announced it was scaling down manufacturing of its COVID-19 vaccine.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded nine new highs and 58 new lows.

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