Stock Market Today: Stocks Lift Off After Encouraging Inflation Report

The major market indexes rallied to their best day in two years after data showed inflation slowed in October.

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Stocks blazed a path higher Thursday after the latest consumer price index (CPI) showed inflation cooled in October.

Ahead of the opening bell, the Labor Department said consumer prices increased 7.7% year-over-year in October – the slowest annual gain since January. On a monthly basis, the CPI was up 0.4%. Both figures were smaller than economists were anticipating. Core CPI, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, also increased at a slower-than-expected pace last month.

Many of Wall Street's top minds were quick to chime in following this morning's release of the October CPI, including Michael Reinking, senior market strategist at the New York Stock Exchange. "Today's data is an obvious step in the right direction," Reinking says. "While we have seen false dawns before, given the broader economic backdrop, it does seem this could be the start of the rollover." He adds that this inflation data "opens the door to the Fed to slow the pace of rate hikes going forward, and we are now seeing markets price in an 80% probability of a 50 basis point rate hike in December." (A basis point = 0.01%.)

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The tech sector (+8.2%), whose components are most sensitive to interest rates, were the biggest gainers today. Among individual stocks soaring were Apple (AAPL (opens in new tab), +8.9%), Meta Platforms (META (opens in new tab), +10.3%) and Microsoft (MSFT (opens in new tab), +8.2%). 

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As such, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite spiked 7.4% to 11,114, while the broader S&P 500 Index (+5.5% at 3,956) and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (+3.7% at 33,715) also scored notable gains. It was the best day for the stock market since 2020.

What Do Tech Layoffs Mean for Stocks?

Today's inflation data sparked an appetite for even the riskiest of assets. Bitcoin, for example, jumped 11.2% to $18,008. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.) This marks quite a change of pace for the digital asset, which has plummeted this week on news of a major shakeup in the crypto space. 

To quickly recap that drama: Crypto exchange Binance initially said it would buy the non-U.S. assets of rival FTX, amid liquidity challenges at the latter firm, before backing out of the deal due to "the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged U.S. agency investigations," per a statement on Twitter. With Binance no longer giving FTX a lifeline, many are speculating that the crypto exchange is teetering on bankruptcy, given that it needs $4 billion to remain solvent, according to its CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.

The upheaval in the cryptocurrency space creates bigger waves for the already embattled tech sector, which is trying to navigate slower growth for the first time in years. Most recently, that has resulted in several big tech firms announcing massive layoffs, including Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META), which said earlier this week it is firing roughly 13% of its global workforce. What do these tech layoffs mean for investors? Read on as we take a closer look.

Karee Venema
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at Kiplinger.com. 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.