Stock Market Today: Stocks End Higher Ahead of May PCE Data

Micron Technology, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Levi's were three of Thursday's biggest movers.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks were choppy Thursday as investors sifted through a heavy batch of headlines that included an upwardly revised reading on first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) and several disappointing corporate earnings reports. But top of mind remained Friday morning's release of a key inflation update.   

There were a number of economic reports released today. In addition to the final reading on Q1 GDP, which was revised to show the economy grew at a 1.4% annual rate vs the previous 1.3% estimate, durable goods orders increased 0.1% from April to May. This was slower than the 0.2% rise seen the month prior.

However, the main economic event of the week comes tomorrow morning with the release of the May Personal Consumption and Expenditures (PCE) Price Index. 

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The PCE "is the Fed's preferred measure of inflation and will be key to providing insight on interest-rate cuts," says Gianmaria Feleppa, market expert and CEO of UCapital Fintech Group. "If the numbers come in higher, then the Fed will continue to leave rates high, stocks will fall and bond yields will rise. If the report shows pricing pressure easing, then the opposite will occur."

According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, futures traders are currently pricing in a 58% chance the Fed will issue its first quarter-point rate cut at its September meeting, up from 45% one month ago thanks to a recent batch of encouraging inflation reports.

Micron drops on soft revenue outlook

Looking at the earnings calendar, Micron Technology (MU, -7.1%) made waves after the memory chipmaker's soft revenue outlook offset fiscal third-quarter top- and bottom-line beats. 

UBS Global Research analyst Timothy Arcuri calls the reaction to MU's revenue forecast "noise" and that calendar year 2025 "is what matters most for the stock." Arcuri reiterated a Buy rating on one of Wall Street's best semiconductor stocks and says Micron remains a top artificial intelligence play.

Walgreens hits a 27-year low after earnings

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) was another noteworthy post-earnings decliner, sinking 22.2% to a 27-year low after its fiscal third-quarter results. While the embattled pharmacy retail chain said revenue ticked higher to a better-than-expected $36.4 billion, earnings plunged 37% year-over-year to 63 cents per share – or well below the 68 cents per share analysts anticipated. 

WBA also slashed its full-year earnings guidance citing "challenging pharmacy industry trends and a worse-than-expected U.S. consumer environment."

Jeff Jonas, portfolio manager at Gabelli Funds, thinks today's share price move is deserved. "The results were definitely worse than expected in the U.S. pharmacy segment, hurt by a weak consumer and continued reimbursement pressure," Jonas says. "I would sell the shares, I just don't see things getting better anytime soon." 

Levi's sinks despite dividend hike

Not to be left out, Levi Strauss (LEVI) tumbled 15.3% after the denim maker fell just shy of revenue estimates amid what Chief Financial Officer Harmit Singh attributed to a "cautious" consumer environment.

Still, Levi beat on the bottom line and its board of directors approved an 8% dividend hike.

Stifel analyst Jim Duffy maintained a Buy rating on LEVI after earnings and said he sees today's pullback as a buying opportunity. "Ultimately, consumer appetite for the brand is the foundation for future potential," Duffy wrote in a note to clients.

As for the main indexes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.09% to 39,164, the S&P 500 gained 0.09% to 5,482, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3% to 17,858.

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.