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11/03/24 Briefing

US stocks closed mixed on Monday while bitcoin (BTC-USD) extended its record rally as investors counted down to crucial inflation data that will test bets on interest rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose 0.1%, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) fell about 0.4%, extending Friday's sharp decline in the tech heavy index.

Now the market is bracing for a last big testbefore the Federal Reserve's March 20 policy meeting. The Consumer Price Index report on Tuesday is front of mind after Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed wants to be more confident that inflation is cooling before easing up on borrowing costs. Given that, a surprise rise would undermine the optimism for a Fed policy shift that has boosted stocks.

Equities faltered after February's jobs report, which showed hiring remains strong even as unemployment beat estimates — a mixed picture that added little certainty to the debate on rate cuts.

In the meantime, a roaring rally in bitcoin sent the token to record highs on Monday after breaking above $72,000 for the first time. The leading cryptocurrency was last changing hands at $72,500, bringing gains for the year so far to roughly 65%.

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