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Dow Looks To Snap Six-Day Losing Streak As UnitedHealth Surges

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April 16 2024 9:09AM

The major U.S. index futures are currently pointing to higher open on Tuesday, with stocks likely to regain ground after moving sharply lower over the two previous sessions.

Bargain hunting may contribute to initial strength on Wall Street, as traders pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels following the steep drops seen over the past two days.

The Dow fell to a nearly three-month closing low on Monday, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hit their lowest closing levels in almost two months.

After closing lower for six straight sessions, the Dow may lead the rebound amid a surge by shares of UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH).

UnitedHealth is spiking by 7.6 percent in pre-market trading after the healthcare giant reported first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Financial giant Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) is also likely to see initial strength after reporting better than expected first quarter results.

Meanwhile, shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) are seeing some pre-market weakness despite the healthcare giant reporting first quarter earnings that beat expectations.

Following the steep drop seen last Friday, stocks showed another substantial move to the downside over the course of the trading session on Monday. The major averages moved notably higher early in the session but pulled back sharply as the day progressed.

The major averages all closed firmly in the red, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq showing a particularly steep drop. The Nasdaq plunged 290.08 points or 1.8 percent to 15,885.02, the S&P 500 tumbled 61.59 points or 1.2 percent to 5,061.82 and the Dow slid 248.13 points or 0.7 percent to 37,735.11.

With the extended slump, the Dow fell to a nearly three-month closing low, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hit their lowest closing levels in almost two months.

The early strength on Wall Street partly reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), as the investment banking company reported first quarter earnings that far exceeded analyst estimates on better than expected revenues.

Traders also initially reacted positively to a Commerce Department report showing much stronger than expected U.S. retail sales growth in the month of March.

The Commerce Department said retail sales climbed by 0.7 percent in March after advancing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in February.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a pullback by sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales jumped by 1.1 percent in March after climbing by 0.6 percent in February. Ex-auto sales were expected to rise by 0.4 percent.

Buying interest evaporated shortly after the start of trading, however, as the retail sales data triggered another spike by treasury yields.

The yield on the benchmark ten-year note surged to its highest levels in five months, as the data led to renewed concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

Following the latest data, CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating just a 21.6 percent chance of a quarter point rate cut in June.

“The robust gain in retail sales in March followed by upward revisions in the prior two months shows the consumer continues to power the overall economy forward,” said Nationwide Chief Economist Kathy Bostjancic.

However, she added, “The lack of moderation in consumer spending and inflation will undermine Fed officials’ confidence that inflation is on a sustainable course back to 2% and likely delays rate cuts to September at the earliest and could push off rate reductions to next year.”

Software stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the session, dragging the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index down by 2.4 percent to its lowest closing level in almost two months.

Considerable weakness also emerged among networking stocks, as reflected by the 2.0 percent slump by the NYSE Arca Networking Index. The index tumbled to a four-month closing low.

Interest rate-sensitive commercial real estate stocks also saw significant weakness, with the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index falling by 1.7 percent.

Computer hardware, housing and biotechnology stocks also came under pressure over the courses of the session, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.