Dow edged higher on Friday, but headed for worst week since September on rate worries

Kroll Global chief economist says peak inflation may be over

Stocks vacillated between gains and losses on Friday, but were headed for losses for the week as concerns over continued rate hikes persisted.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat but on track for its worst week since September. The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.4 percent.

The Dow lost 1.9 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 lost 2.5 percent. The Nasdaq fell 2.9%.

Friday’s move came as November’s producer price index showed wholesale prices rose more than expected, rising 0.3% last month and up 7.4% from a year earlier. Core PPI, which excludes food and energy, also came in above expectations.

Upbeat consumer confidence data helped ease some concerns, but attention remained on next week’s busy economic calendar. All eyes will be on the consumer price index, which is expected to show whether prices have fallen.

Later this week, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points at the conclusion of its December policy meeting. While the increase will be smaller than the previous four hikes, there are growing concerns about the central bank’s ability to achieve a soft landing and prevent a recession.

Investors have long hoped to pivot away from the Fed’s aggressive tightening cycle, but the data failed to support that desire, said Stephanie Lang, chief investment officer at Homrich Berg.

“Our expectation is that we do need to see inflation come down close to the fed funds rate for the Fed to pause, and there is still a considerable variance between those numbers,” she said. “There’s still some work to be done on the inflation front before it can really be seen as a reality.”

In other news, stocks lululemon Shares fell after the company gave a weaker-than-expected outlook for the fourth quarter. Shares of Bath & Body Works rose after Dan Loeb revealed he had increased his stake.

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