Wall Street ends little changed

·2-min read

Wall Street's main indexes have ended little changed, with gains in energy and financial shares countering declines in healthcare as investors weighed the latest US economic data for signs of a rebound and rising inflation.

The S&P 500 financial sector hit a record high while expected growth in fuel demand boosted oil prices and helped lift the energy sector.

The healthcare sector was dragged down by a weak profit forecast from Abbott Laboratories.

Data showed US manufacturing activity picked up in May as pent-up demand in a reopening economy boosted orders.

But unfinished work piled up because of shortages of raw materials and labour.

"People came back from a holiday weekend convinced that the economy is recovering nicely and that any inflation that we might be seeing in labour and other costs is temporary," Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 40.14 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 34,569.59, the S&P 500 lost 2.97 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 4,201.14 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 16.31 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 13,732.43.

Along with financials and energy, the small-cap Russell 2000 rose sharply on Tuesday, underscoring strength for segments of the stock market expected to do particularly well in an expanding economy.

"The economy certainly is growing and that's a positive, and again it's a positive for the most cyclical parts of the stock market," said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco in New York.

While the S&P 500 remains within about 1.0 per cent of its record high after four straight months of gains, investors are worried about whether rising inflation could hit equity prices.

Stock markets on Friday brushed off a surge in key inflation readings for April following reassurances from Federal Reserve officials that the central bank's ultra-loose monetary policy would remain in place.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari and Fed Vice Chair for supervision Randal Quarles on Tuesday reiterated the view that higher prices would be transitory.

This week's focus will be on a raft of economic data, culminating with US payrolls due on Friday.

Abbott Labs shares fell after the company cut its full-year 2021 profit forecast, citing expectations for a sharp decline in revenue from its COVID-19 tests as more people in the US get vaccinated.

Shares of other test makers also fell.

Cloudera Inc shares jumped after private equity firms KKR & Co and Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC agreed to take the data analytics firm private.

A group of "meme stocks" extended gains from the previous week, with shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc rising after the movie theatre chain said it sold $US230 million ($A297 million) of its stock.

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