December 2, 2023

Stocks were largely muted to open Wednesday’s trading as they looked to shake off losses driven by banking-sector worries and attention shifted to a key US inflation report in the wake of disappointing Chinese price data.

At the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was flat. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was also flat, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) lost about 0.1%.

With the crucial July US inflation report looming on Thursday, data released Wednesday showed China’s consumer sector fell into deflation in July. It’s another sign that Beijing is struggling to revive demand in the world’s second-biggest economy, spurring fears about a prolonged slowdown with global repercussions.

Meanwhile, investors continued to digest Moody’s downgrade of midsize US banks, a reminder that the problems that roiled the financial world in the spring are not yet in the past. The health of the banking sector, as well as inflationary pressures, has played a part in the Federal Reserve’s decision making during its rate-hiking campaign.

Disney (DIS) is the highlight on the earnings docket, with its after-hours results closely watched for how it will tackle advertising headwinds and escalating streaming losses. Its shares ticked higher in premarket trading after its ESPN network signed a landmark sports betting deal with PENN Entertainment (PENN).

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