wall street today: Wall St gains ground after Fed-driven selloff; Big Tech earnings in focus


Wall Street rose on Thursday, after a selloff in the previous session as the US Federal Reserve dashed hopes for early interest rate cuts, with focus moving to Big Tech earnings due later in the day.

The S&P 500 and the tech-laden Nasdaq on Wednesday notched their biggest one-day percentage declines since September and October, respectively, while the Dow saw its steepest decline in six weeks.

Keeping interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, the Fed reminded markets of its undeterred focus on battling inflation and smashed speculations of policy easing kicking off in March.

Fresh data on Thursday showed initial jobless claims for the week ended January 27 rose to a seasonally adjusted 224,000, higher than expectations of 212,000, according to economists polled by Reuters.

“Probabilities for March are taking a serious hit but that could change overnight … we’re seeing signs of that with jobless claims coming in much hotter than expected,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital LLC.

Meanwhile, another report showed job cut announcements in January rose to a 10-month high as employers in the financial and technology sectors launched restructuring efforts.Separately, the Institute for Supply Management’s PMI index showed factory activity picked up to 49.1 in January from 47.1 the month before.Focus moves back to Big Tech earnings that would shed light on whether megacap stocks can sustain their recent rally, fueled by the hype around artificial intelligence and hopes of early rate cuts.

Apple’s iPhone sales are expected to have seen the best growth in five quarters, but analysts see a tough year for the company in China, while investors will monitor whether Amazon.com can cash in on its delivery heft by boosting fee revenue from its “Buy With Prime” service.

Meta Platforms is likely to see a muted impact from generative AI on its advertising business.

The three tech giants, up between 0.8% and 2.2%, will report earnings after the closing bell, a day after investors punished Alphabet and Microsoft on mounting costs of developing generative AI-powered products.

At 10:04 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 50.64 points, or 0.13%, at 38,200.94, the S&P 500 was up 21.14 points, or 0.44%, at 4,866.79, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 112.80 points, or 0.74%, at 15,276.81.

The KBW Regional Banking index fell 3%, dragged down by New York Community Bancorp’s shares that were down 10%, rekindling investor fears over the health of U.S. regional lenders.

Seven of the 11 S&P 500 sectors rose, led by a 1.2% gain in communication services shares.

Merck climbed 1.9% after the drug maker’s upbeat fourth-quarter results, while Dow component Honeywell dropped 4.3% after the diversified industrial firm forecast a weak first-quarter profit.

Qualcomm fell 5% on concerns over Android sales in China.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.20-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.62-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 12 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 35 new highs and 61 new lows.

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