Stock Market Today: Stocks Struggle Ahead of February CPI Report

The main indexes had trouble getting off the ground Monday as Wall Street waits for tomorrow's inflation update.

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Stocks were shaky to start the week, with the main indexes spending the majority of Monday in negative territory. Investors are on edge ahead of tomorrow morning's release of the February Consumer Price Index (CPI), especially after recent hotter-than-anticipated inflation readings pushed back expectations for the Federal Reserve's first interest-rate cut.  

The February CPI "should alleviate concerns that inflation is reaccelerating after the January data," writes Stephen Juneau, economist at BofA Securities, in a note to clients. 

Juneau expects the headline CPI to rise 0.4% month-over-month – quicker than January's 0.3% increase – due to rising gas prices. But core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, is believed to be up 0.3% from January to February, below the prior month's 0.4% reading.

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But tomorrow's CPI reading is not the only inflation update on this week's economic calendar. Indeed, the latest retail sales data and the Producer Price Index (PPI) will both be released Thursday morning. 

This onslaught of data comes ahead of next week's Fed meeting. According to CME Group's FedWatch Tool, futures traders are currently pricing in a 55% chance of the first quarter-point rate cut occurring in June, up from 42% one month ago.

Snap, Meta tumble after Trump talks TikTok

In single-stock news, social media stocks Snap (SNAP, -4.2%) and Meta Platforms (META, -4.4%) sold off after former President Donald Trump seemingly reversed his stance on China-based short-form video platform TikTok. 

Speaking on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Trump, who tried unsuccessfully to ban TikTok in 2020, said he still believes the app is a national security threat, but without it "you can make Facebook [which is owned by Meta Platforms] bigger and I consider Facebook to be an enemy of the people along with a lot of the media." 

Trump's comments come as the U.S. House of Representatives is expected this week to vote on a bill that will give TikTok's parent company ByteDance six months to divest the platform or face a complete ban. Lawmakers are concerned that China is using TikTok is gather data on its users, though ByteDance has denied the accusations.

MicroStrategy pops as Bitcoin soars

Elsewhere, MicroStrategy (MSTR) shot up 4.1% after the software company said it bought 12,000 bitcoins in the two weeks ended March 10. MSTR now owns roughly 205,000 bitcoins. Bitcoin, for its part, traded above the $72,000 level for the first time ever.

As for the main indexes, the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.4% to 16,019 and the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 5,117. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, edged up 0.1% to 38,769 as UnitedHealth Group (UNH) popped 2.7%. At roughly $490 a share, UNH has the greatest weighting of all 30 stocks in the price-weighted Dow.

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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.