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U.S. Stocks Finish Lackluster Session Little Changed

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April 24 2024 4:33PM

Stocks turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Wednesday following the strong upward move seen to start the week. After moving to the upside early in the session, the major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The major averages eventually ended the day narrowly mixed. While the Dow edged down 42.77 points or 0.1 percent to 38,460.92, the S&P 500 crept up 1.08 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 5,071.63 and the Nasdaq inched up 16.11 points or 0.1 percent to 15,712.75.

A positive reaction to the latest corporate earnings news initially contributed to an extended rebound on Wall Street following the considerable weakness seen last week.

Shares of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) spiked by 12.1 percent even though the electric vehicle maker reported weaker than expected first quarter results.

The surge by Tesla came after CEO Elon Musk said the company plans to start production of a new affordable model by early 2025.

Semiconductor company Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) also saw significant strength after reporting first quarter results that beat expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

Shares of Visa (NYSE:V) and Mattel (NASDAQ:META) also moved to the upside after the companies reported better than expected quarterly results.

Buying interest waned shortly after the start of trading, however, with traders still worried about the outlook for interest rates ahead of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders will be looking for clues about the possibility of future rate cuts.

Later this week, the Commerce Department is due to release a report on personal income and spending that includes readings on inflation said to be preferred by the Fed.

Traders may also have been reluctant to make significant moves ahead of more big-name tech earnings in the coming days.

IBM Corp. (NASDAQ:META) and Facebook parent Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) are among the companies due to report their quarterly results after the close of today’s trading.

Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT) are also among the companies due to report their quarterly results after the close of trading on Thursday.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods surged by more than expected in the month of March.

The report said durable goods orders soared by 2.6 percent in March after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.7 percent in February.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to spike by 2.3 percent compared to the 1.3 percent jump that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding a surge in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders crept up by 0.2 percent in March after inching up by 0.1 percent in February. Ex-transportation orders were expected to rise by 0.3 percent.

Sector News

Transportation stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the Dow Jones Transportation Average down by 2.3 percent.

Considerable weakness was also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent loss posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Pharmaceutical and retail stocks also saw some weakness, while semiconductor stocks turned in a strong performance following the upbeat results from Texas Instruments.

Reflecting the strength in the semiconductor sector, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbed by 1.1 percent on the day.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index shot up by 2.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved modestly lower on the day. While the German DAX Index fell by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index dipped by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries came under pressure following the advance seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 5.4 basis points to 4.652 percent.

Looking Ahead

Earnings news may attract attention on Thursday, while traders are also likely to keep an eye on reports on first quarter GDP, weekly jobless claims and pending home sales.