S&P 500 edges to record as Fed eyes inflation risk


NEW YORK (AFP) - The S&P 500 edged to a record on Wednesday (April 7) while the Nasdaq dipped as US President Joe Biden again called for infrastructure investment and Federal Reserve minutes showed inflation fears have risen somewhat.

US equities avoided major swings throughout the session as Biden cast his proposed US$2 trillion (S$2.7 trillion) infrastructure plan as a make-or-break moment for ensuring US supremacy on the world stage against a rising China.

The president's remarks came as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen campaigned for a global minimum corporate tax that would align other major economies with the Biden's administration plan to increase business taxes to finance the public works package, which has drawn opposition from congressional Republicans.

Meanwhile, Fed minutes showed most policy makers viewed inflation as stable, even as "several" central bankers worried that strong demand "could push up price inflation more than anticipated."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1 per cent to 33,466.26.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent at 4,079.95 to narrowly overtake Monday's record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 13,688.84.

Among individual companies, JPMorgan Chase gained 1.6 per cent after chief executive Jamie Dimon predicted the US economy would see a "likely boom" potentially through 2023 following a flood of fiscal support.

However, Dimon pointed to two risks that could derail this scenario - virulent Covid-19 variants that resist vaccines and a more long-running rise in inflation that compels the Fed to hike interest rates quickly.

Carnival jumped 1.3 per cent as it reported that cruise booking volumes were about 90 per cent higher in the first quarter compared with the prior three-month stretch, reflecting pent-up demand as Covid-19 restrictions lift.