The S&P 500 climbed Wednesday, but data showing inflation remained elevated kept a lid on the upside just as the Federal Reserve's September minutes signaled the central bank could taper its bond purchases as soon as next month.
The S&P 500 rose 0.25%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat, the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.59%.
"Participants noted that if a decision to begin tapering purchases occurred at the next meeting, the process of tapering could commence with the monthly purchase calendars beginning in either mid-November or mid-December," the Fed minutes showed.
The minutes arrived after Labor Department reported that consumer prices in September rose more than expected.
The consumer price index rose 0.4% last month, above the 0.3% rise in August, and more than estimates of 0.3%. The uptick in consumer prices in September lifted the year-on-year increase in the CPI to 5.4% from 5.3% in August.
Signs that price pressures are beginning to emerge in sticker areas of the economy such as rents and owners' equivalent rents will test the Federal Reserve's ongoing narrative that inflation remains transitory.
"[P]rice pressures are shifting to the stickier components and will make the Fed's 'transitory' thesis more difficult to defend," Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said in a note.
Financials were the biggest drag on the broader market, paced by a decline the banking stocks as JPMorgan got the third-quarter earnings season underway.
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) reported Q3 earnings of $3.74 per share on revenue of $29.65 billion, compared with estimates of $2.92 on revenue $29.65 billion. Its shares fell more than 2%.
BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) also delivered a beat on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares more than 3% higher.
Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) swung to a profit in the third quarter, but the airline warned that higher fuel costs will hurt fourth-quarter results. It's shares fell nearly 6%.
Energy cut some losses as oil prices recovered from session lows on expectations that demand will continue to strengthen.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was "quite possible," that oil prices could top $100 per barrel.
Megacap tech was supported by fall in Treasury yields, but gains in the overall sector were kept in check by weakness in Apple.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell nearly 1% after Bloomberg reporting, citing unnamed sources, that the tech giant it likely to cut iPhone 13 production by as many as 10 million units amid the ongoing global chip shortage.
Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) were above the flatline.