Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

The Dow retreated from its record levels on Friday after Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams pushed back on the market’s expectations for aggressive interest-rate cuts next year.

But after rising for six straight sessions through Thursday, the major U.S. indexes remained on track for a seventh straight week in the green, the longest such streak for the S&P 500 since November 2017, according to FactSet data.

How are stocks trading

The S&P 500
fell by 9.50 points, or 0.2%, to 4,710.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average
declined by 101 points, or 0.3%, to 37,157.

The Nasdaq Composite
gained 37 points, or 0.3%, to 14,806.

All three indexes have gained more than 2% this week, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500 was up 2.3%, on track for its biggest weekly advance since the week ending Nov. 3.

What’s driving markets

Despite a modest pullback at the open, U.S. stocks were sitting pretty on Friday, with the Dow coming off its second-straight record close and stocks from small-caps to technology rallying in tandem.

This renewed appetite for stocks in the waning days of 2023 has been fueled in part by a Fed meeting earlier this week, where officials surprised investors by indicating rates have peaked and mapped out rate cuts for 2024.

Williams pushed back against those comments on Friday during an interview on CNBC where he put a dampener on rate-cut speculation.

Still, the S&P 500 is trading within 1.75 percentage points of its current record close from January 2022. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
was slightly higher, but hovered around 3.920%.

Investors may see a more volatile session on a “triple-witching” Friday, with options contracts tied to more than $5 trillion worth of stocks, exchange-traded funds and indexes set to expire. Also, money managers will need to finalize changes to their holdings as the quarterly rebalancing of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 will kick in after the market close on Friday.

See: Traders brace for chaotic ‘triple witching’ Friday as $5 trillion in expiring options collides with index-rebalancing mania

U.S. economic data released Friday included the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing survey, which showed U.S. manufacturing activity continued to struggle as the gauge tumbled to a four-month low.

The Fed’s stance was starkly different to the Bank of England and European Central Bank’s each leaving interest rates unchanged on Thursday. ECB President Christine Lagarde also said rate cuts wouldn’t be considered “until data turns conclusive.”

But fresh economic data out of Europe indicated Lagarde may come under more pressure in the new year. German bunds fell
and the euro

weakened after fresh data showed Europe’s December composite purchasing managers index falling to a weaker-than-expected 46.7, with French PMI data also disappointing with a fall to 43.7.

Hong Kong stocks
meanwhile, climbed more than 2% after the People’s Bank of China pumped fresh money into the economy, allocating $112 billion in one-year loans to commercial lenders.

The move will ease worries about a potential cash shortage amid government debt issuance and follows relaxation in home-buying rules in major Chinese cities as the housing market sags.

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