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Nasdaq Reaches New Record Closing High But Dow Nearly Unchanged

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May 24 2024 4:44PM

Following the downturn seen over the course of the previous session, stocks showed a strong move back to the upside during trading on Friday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq led the rebound, surging to a new record closing high.

The Nasdaq jumped 184.76 points or 1.1 percent to 16,920.94 and the S&P 500 (SPI:SP500) climbed 36.88 points or 0.7 percent to 5,304.72, while the narrower Dow (DOWI:DJI) ended the day roughly flat, inching up just 4.33 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 39,069.59.

While the Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NVDA) shot up by 1.4 percent for the week, the S&P 500 was nearly unchanged and the Dow tumbled by 2.3 percent.

The rebound on Wall Street came as traders looked to pick up stocks at somewhat reduced levels following the downturn seen on Thursday, which saw the Dow post its worst daily drop since March 2023.

The weakness that emerged on Wall Street on Thursday came as a positive reaction to earnings news from Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) was overshadowed by lingering concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected increase in durable goods orders in the month of April, although the growth came following a significantly downwardly revised jump in March.

The report said durable goods orders climbed by 0.7 percent in April following a downwardly revised 0.8 percent advance in March.

Economist had expected durable goods orders to decrease by 0.8 percent compared to the 2.6 percent surge originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.4 percent in April after coming in unchanged in March. Ex-transportation orders were expected to inch up by 0.1 percent.

A separate report released by the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. deteriorated slightly less than previously estimated in the month of May.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for May was upwardly revised to 69.1 from the preliminary reading of 67.4. Economists had expected the index to be unrevised.

Despite the upward revision, the consumer sentiment index still fell sharply from 77.2 in April, slumping to its lowest level since hitting 61.3 last November.

Meanwhile, the report showed year-ahead inflation expectations increased by much less than previously estimated, inching up to 3.3 percent in May from 3.2 percent in April.

The University of Michigan had previously reported year-ahead inflation expectations jumped to 3.5 percent, although the downwardly revised figure still represents the highest level since hitting 4.5 percent last November.

The revised data also showed long-run inflation expectations held steady at 3.0 percent for the second straight month compared to the previously reported uptick to 3.1 percent.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks showed a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up by 1.9 percent to a new record closing high.

Chipmaker Nvidia shot up by 2.6 percent, extending the surge seen on Thursday following the AI darling’s strong quarterly results.

Computer hardware and networking stocks also turned in strong performances, contributing to the jump by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Considerable strength was also visible among brokerage stocks, as reflected by the 1.8 percent gain posted by the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index.

Gold, housing and airline stocks also saw notable strength on the day, while most of the other major sectors showed more modest moves.

Other Markets

Most European stocks also moved to the downside on the day. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, although the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction after trending lower over the past several sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, edged down less than a basis point to 4.467 percent.

Looking Ahead

Following the long Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. economic calendar gets off to a relatively quiet start next week but picks up as the week progresses.

Next Friday, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on personal income and spending in April, which includes closely watched inflation readings said to be preferred by the Fed.