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NEW YORK: US stock indexes were mixed on Monday, ahead of a key inflation reading and commentary from Federal Reserve policymakers later in the week, while shares of some retailers edged higher as holiday shopping picked up steam with Cyber Monday deals.

Investors are awaiting the release of “Beige Book”, the Fed’s compendium of reports about the economy, and the personal consumption expenditure index data for October, which would help give clues about the Fed’s next rate decision.

Monday’s mixed movement follows a positive Thanksgiving week for Wall Street, with the major indexes notching up their fourth consecutive week of gains on growing optimism that the Federal Reserve was likely done hiking interest rates.

“It’s natural to expect that the first day back after a long Thanksgiving session, you’d see perhaps some muted enthusiasm in the marketplace,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

“As the week progresses, we’ll get a little bit more directionality out of equity prices. It’d be more favorable because we’re in a traditionally strong seasonal area of the calendar.” The rebound in equities in November has brought the S&P 500 close to its highest intra-day level this year.

US retailers were on the radar after Black Friday, and as Cyber Monday kicked off with shoppers estimated to spend a record $12 billion to $12.4 billion.

Shares of Amazon.com and Walmart edged up 1.4% and 0.7%, respectively.

Affirm Holdings jumped 11.8%, as the usage of ‘buy now, pay later’ was seen hitting an all-time high, boosting the online holiday sales.

The S&P 500 retail sector, housing Amazon, rose 0.9%.

The focus will also be on a host of Fed officials due to speak at different conferences this week, with Chair Jerome Powell expected to participate in a fireside chat on Friday.

Traders have priced in the possibility of a pause in rate hikes in December, and see an about 52% chance of a rate cut of at least 25-basis points in May 2024, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.

The CBOE Volatility index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, was up 0.29 points at 12.75 after plunging to its lowest since just before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 last week.

At 11:46 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 89.48 points, or 0.25%, at 35,300.67, the S&P 500 was down 5.27 points, or 0.12%, at 4,554.07, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 14.00 points, or 0.10%, at 14,264.85.

Among other stocks, Crown Castle International added 3.8% as activist investor Elliott Investment Management, also a major shareholder, sought executive and board changes at the wireless tower owner.

GE HealthCare lost 3.6% after UBS downgraded the medical devices maker to “sell” from “neutral”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.49-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 58 new highs and 43 new lows.

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