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Dow, S&P 500 Finish Lackluster Session At New Record Highs

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February 23 2024 11:28AM

Stocks extended Thursday’s substantial rally in early trading on Friday but turned in a relatively lackluster performance over the remainder of the trading session. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow (DOWI:DJI) and the S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) reached new record closing highs.

The major averages bounced back and forth across the unchanged line before closing narrowly mixed. While the Nasdaq (NASDAQI:COMP) dipped 44.80 points or 0.3 percent to 15,996.82, the Dow rose 62.42 points or 0.2 percent to 39,131.53 and the S&P 500 inch up 1.77 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 5,088.80.

For the holiday-shortened week, the S&P 500 surged by 1.7 percent, while the Nasdaq and the Dow jumped by 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The early upward move reflected an extension of the rally seen in during Thursday’s session, which came on the heels of upbeat earnings news from AI darling Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA).

Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, as traders took a breather following Thursday’s surge.

Overall trading activity remained somewhat subdued as the day progressed, as a lack of major U.S. economic data kept some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of several key reports next week.

The Commerce Department’s report on personal income and spending is likely to be in focus next week, as it includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on durable goods orders, new home sales, consumer confidence and manufacturing activity.

Sector News

Reflecting the lackluster performance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day.

Gold stocks showed a strong move to the upside, however, resulting in a 1.8 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

The strength among gold stocks came amid a notable increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for April delivery jumping $18.70 to $2,049.40 an ounce.

On the other hand, semiconductor stocks gave back ground after helping lead Thursday’s rally, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 1.1 percent.

Airline stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day, moving lower along with oil service and computer hardware stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index increased by 0.4 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved notably higher after ending the previous session roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid 6.7 basis points to 4.260 percent.

Looking Ahead

Next week’s trading is likely to be driven by reaction to the latest U.S. economic data, particularly the readings on consumer price inflation.