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Stock market today: US markets mixed in quiet post-holiday trading

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Wall Street was mixed in quiet trading early Tuesday after the long Memorial Day weekend holiday.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.1% before the bell, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1%.

U.S. Cellular jumped 5.6% after it announced that T-Mobile is buying the company’s wireless operations and certain assets in a deal valued at $4.4 billion. As part of the agreement, T-Mobile will get U.S. Cellular’s wireless operations and about 30% of spectrum assets across several spectrum bands.

GameStop, one of the original meme stocks, is off and running again, jumping more than 25% in premarket trading. After the bell Friday, the video game retailer announced that it had sold the maximum number of shares in its most recent offering — 45 million — bringing in more than $933 million for the company.

Now that earnings season has largely wrapped up, investors will turn their focus to the economy, inflation and interest rates. Later Tuesday, the Conference Board serves up its consumer confidence index for May. Though they are still spending at a decent enough rate to help prop up the U.S. economy, consumers have become less confident in recent months as inflation and interest rates remain elevated.

Coming later in the week is the government’s consumer spending report, which will also shed light on Americans’ spending habits last month. The report contains a calculation of inflation that is of particular interest to the Federal Reserve, which has raised its benchmark rate to its highest level in more than two decades in an attempt to corral inflation. While it has worked in getting inflation down from highs above 9%, year-over-year price increases are still lingering above the Fed’s 2% target.

That stubborn inflation has made it difficult for the Fed to cut interest rates, which typically boosts the stock market.

Like the broader economy, markets have largely plowed onward to record highs recently, despite the higher interest rates meant to cool it off.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX gained was flat, while the CAC 40 in Paris turned 0.6% lower. In Britain, the FTSE 100 shed 0.3%, reopening from a bank holiday on Monday.

In Asian trading, Chinese markets rose and then fell after senior leaders of the ruling Communist Party met and affirmed Beijing’s determination to contain financial risks.

The Shanghai Composite index dropped 0.5% to 3,109.57. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost less than 1 point to 18,821.16.

The Chinese government recently eased interest rates and down payment requirements for housing loans as part of its effort to revive the property sector after a crackdown on excessive borrowing caused defaults among many developers.

The housing industry plays a huge role in driving the economy and its troubles have weighed on growth.

The meetings Monday led by Chinese President Xi Jinping “noted that preventing and defusing financial risks is a major challenge,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Efforts to strengthen oversight “should be implemented strictly to send a strong signal that any violator will be held accountable, so that financial oversight will actually have ‘teeth and thorns’ and be sharp-pointed,” Xinhua said.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.1% to 38,855.37 and the Kospi in Seoul was nearly unchanged at 2,722.85. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.3% to 7,766.70.

In other trading Tuesday, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained $1.05 to $78.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“The tense geopolitical setup is supportive of further gains along with the rising U.S. demand into summer and OPEC’s restrictive tone regarding its outlook,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya of Swissquote said in a commentary.

Brent crude, the international standard, was close to unchanged at $82.92 per barrel.

In currency dealings, the U.S. dollar slipped to 156.78 Japanese yen from 156.89 yen.

The euro rose to $1.0885 from $1.0860.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.7% and the Dow industrials rose by less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.1% to top its all-time high set earlier last week.

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