U.S. stocks are higher, paring weekly losses though the markets remain choppy following this week's hawkish Congressional testimony from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. A larger-than-expected increase in weekly initial jobless claims seems to be offering a modest reprieve from the concerns about how aggressive the Fed may be. Treasury yields are mixed with short-term rates giving back recent gains and the yield curve steepening somewhat after inverting further on Powell's testimony. The U.S. dollar is relinquishing some of this week's rally, while crude oil and gold prices are trading to the upside. Equity news remains light, but Dow member American Express increased its share buyback plan and raised its dividend, while GE is rallying as the Street is cheering its long-term outlook. Asia finished mixed following some cooler-than-expected Chinese inflation reports, and Europe has turned mixed, with the global markets continuing to react to Fed Chair Powell's comments.
At 10:53 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is 0.4% higher, the S&P 500 Index is gaining 0.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite is up 0.6%. WTI crude oil is rising $0.61 to $77.27 per barrel, and Brent crude oil is gaining $0.75 at $83.41 per barrel. The gold spot price is advancing $16.40 to $1,835.00 per ounce, and the Dollar Index is dropping 0.4% to 105.23.
Dow member American Express Company (AXP $178) announced that its board has approved the repurchase of up to 120 million common shares, replacing the current buyback plan that had 36 million common shares remaining. Additionally, AXP increased its quarterly dividend by 15.0% to $0.08 per share. AXP is trading higher.
General Electric Company (GE $95) is rallying after the company offered an update on its long-term targets, highlighting expected profit margin expansion and mid-to-high single-digit revenue growth at its soon-to-be separated aviation unit. GE also said it expects its combined power-equipment and energy unit, to be named GE Vernova after next year's split, to deliver sales growth in the mid-single-digits and a high single-digit profit margin. The company also reaffirmed its 2023 guidance.
Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders notes in her latest article, Caveat Emptor: Important Market Shifts Underway, how given the topsy-turvy nature of the market thus far in 2023, it remains crucial for investors to know what they are buying—especially as it relates to growth, value, and quality.