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Nasdaq, S&P 500 Give Back Ground But Dow Closes Higher

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March 13 2024 4:40PM

Following the significant rebound seen during Tuesday’s session, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday. The major averages spent most of the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line before closing mixed.

While the Dow (DOWI:DJI) inched up 37.83 points or 0.1 percent to 39,043.32, closing higher for the third consecutive session, the S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) dipped 9.96 points or 0.2 percent to 5,165.31 and the Nasdaq (NASDAQI:COMP) slid 87.87 points or 0.5 percent to 16,177.77.

The pullback by the Nasdaq partly reflected weakness in the tech sector, with AI darling Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) slumping by 1.1 percent.

Overall trading activity remained somewhat subdued, however, as a lack of major U.S. economic kept some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of several key reports in the coming days.

On Thursday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its report on producer price inflation in the month of February, which may shed additional light on the outlook for interest rates.

Producer prices are expected to rise by 0.3 percent in February, matching the increase seen in January, while the annual rate of producer price growth is expected to accelerate to 1.1 percent from 0 .9 percent.

Reports on weekly jobless claims and retail sales are also due to be released on Thursday, with retail sales expected to rebound in February after slumping in January.

On Friday, trading may be impacted by reaction to reports on import and export prices, industrial production and consumer sentiment.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary report on consumer sentiment in March may be in focus, as it includes reading on inflation expectations.

Sector News

Most of the major sectors showed only modest moves on the day, contributing to the lackluster performance by the broader markets.

Energy stocks saw considerable strength, however, with a sharp increase by the price of crude oil contributing to the strength in the sector.

With crude for April delivery spiking $2.16 to $79.72 a barrel, the NYSE Arca Oil Index surged by 2.3 percent and the Philadelphia Oil Service Index shot up by 1.9 percent.

An increase by the price of gold also contributed to considerable strength among gold stocks, as reflected by the 2.2 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

On the other hand, semiconductor stocks showed a significant move to the downside, dragging the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index down by 2.5 percent.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended mixed once again on Wednesday. While China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.4 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.3 percent, South Korea’s Kospi climbed by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks moved mostly higher on the day. The French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, although the German DAX Index closed just below the unchanged line.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the pullback seen over the two previous sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 3.7 basis points to 4.192 percent.

Looking Ahead

While the producer price inflation data is likely to be in the spotlight on Thursday, trading could also be impacted by reaction to the jobless claims and retail sales data.