Key points:

  • US stocks closed slightly higher in sluggish trading.
  • The S&P 500 is just below its all-time high.
  • Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 index, the real estate sector posted the largest percentage gain.

US equity markets closed marginally higher on Wednesday amidst sluggish trading, with the S&P 500 index hovering just below its all-time high.

The three major US stock indexes exhibited a seesaw pattern throughout the session, alternating between modest gains and losses. However, they collectively ended the day on an optimistic note, firmly on track to secure monthly, quarterly, and annual gains.

The S&P 500 index, a broad measure of the US stock market, ended the day 0.3% shy of its all-time closing peak of 4,796.56, set on January 3, 2022. Notably, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, another key index, achieved a new all-time closing high on the same day.

“When you have very few catalysts and minimal trading activity, you tend to see trends continue.”

said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer of Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana.

In the wake of below-expectations US CPI data released on Friday, expectations are intensifying that the Federal Reserve will commence its first rate reduction as early as March, bolstering rate-sensitive stocks and propelling Wall Street’s major indexes towards a rally.

According to the CME’s FedWatch tool, financial markets have assigned a 73.9% probability that policymakers will lower the Fed funds rate target by 25 basis points at the conclusion of the March meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) advanced by 111.19 points, or 0.3%, to close at 37,656.52. The S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 6.83 points, or 0.14%, to finish at 4,781.58. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) climbed 24.60 points, or 0.16%, to close at 15,099.18.

What did the shares demonstrate?

The real estate sector emerged as the top performer among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, while energy stocks, battered by plummeting oil prices, suffered the most significant losses.

Bit Digital shares soared by 18.6% after the miner announced plans to expand its operations by doubling its mining capacity.

Coherus BioSciences shares gained 23.6% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug delivery device for treating infections.

First Wave BioPharma shares surged by an impressive 49.6% after the drug developer agreed to sell its inflammatory bowel disease drug to a yet-to-be-identified company.


Despite mixed trading, the S&P 500 index recorded an impressive 50 new all-time highs, while the Nasdaq Composite Index set a new record with 218 new highs.

However, both indexes also experienced a decline in trading volume, with the S&P 500 trading 11.96 billion shares, compared to its average of 12.67 billion shares over the past 20 trading days.