Wall Street drifts as a trading lull continues

NEW YORK — Stocks are drifting in early trading on Wall Street, continuing this week’s lull as markets wait for several big events next week.

The S&P 500 was up less than 0.1% early today, and it hasn’t moved by more than 0.4% any day this week.

The Dow was up 34 points, or 0.1%, while the Nasdaq composite was up 0.2%.

GameStop sank 20% after ousting the CEO who was brought in to try and turn around the struggling video game retailer.

The market has been mostly calm after charging higher last week on data suggesting a long-feared recession may not be imminent.

The labor market has remained remarkably resilient in the midst of aggressive interest rate hikes by the Fed as it combats persistently high inflation. Monthly job gains continue to surprise economists and job openings have been elevated for the better part of two years.

The Fed is trying to achieve a so-called “soft landing,” wherein inflation comes down and the economy cools off but no so much that it falls into a recession.

Wall Street is trying to figure which of those things are more likely to happen first and many analysts expect the Fed to leave rates alone next week. That would mark the first policy meeting in more than a year where it hasn’t hiked its benchmark rate, which is at its highest level since 2007.

Elsewhere, revised figures released today show that the European economy contracted slightly at the end of last year and beginning of 2023, underlining the impact of the loss of Russian natural gas and high inflation on consumer spending. That means the eurozone endured two consecutive quarters of declining output, which is one definition of recession often used in political and economic discussions, dubbed a “technical” recession.