Nasdaq jumps as investors cheer inflation data, Alphabet

STORY: U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Wednesday, helped by a slightly lower-than-expected increase in April inflation and a strong performance from Alphabet, parent company of Google.

The Dow fell one-tenth of one percent while the S&P 500 rose nearly half of one percent and the Nasdaq added more than 1 percent.

The Labor Department's Consumer Price Index or CPI rose 4.9% in April from a year ago, compared with expectations of a 5% increase, raising hopes that the Federal Reserve's interest rate hiking cycle is close to an end. Month-over-month CPI in April rose 0.4% after gaining 0.1% in March. Markets are still pricing in rate cuts later this year which CBIZ Investment Advisory Services Chief Investment Officer Anna Rathbun sees as unlikely.

"And today's numbers actually support the view that inflation is sticky. Now the question is, what does this mean in terms of policy? Right. Is inflation coming down fast enough for the Fed to not only pause? But cut rates? Which is what the Fed funds futures market is expecting, and I differ on that point of view. So I do think that inflation is sticky and that is the number one concern for the Fed. So there's no reason for the Fed to actually start cutting rates, and that is a risk risk to the markets as a sidebar because equity markets and It's move upward in the last several weeks and months. It's kind of expecting that rate cut to be there and that's what's priced in. So if we don't see those rate cuts, that might be a headwind for equity markets and risk markets in general."

Alphabet rose 4-percent as it rolled out more artificial intelligence for its core search product in response to competition from Microsoft Corp.

While investors are paying close attention to talks on the debt ceiling, some areas of compromise emerged after Tuesday’s White House meeting.