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01/03/24 Briefing

Thursday’s rally was led by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), which rose 9.1%, while NVIDIA Corporation’s (NVDA) ended up 1.9%.

Big tech companies such as, Inc (AMZN), Apple, Inc (AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Alphabet, Inc (GOOGL) and Tesla, Inc (TSLA) have been playing a major role in lifting the Nasdaq and bailing it out from the lows of 2022.

These stocks have been helping the broader tech sector, which have been on a rally this year.

Another factor behind Thursday’s rally was the renewed optimism surrounding rate cuts following fresh inflation reading. The Commerce Department reported ahead of the opening bell that the PCE price index rose 0.3% month over month in January and 2.4% year over year. January inflation rose at its fastest pace in four months but came in line with economists’ expectations.

Core PCE, which excludes the volatile energy and food costs, increased 0.4% sequentially in January and 2.8% from a year ago, which also came in line with the consensus estimates.

Although the inflation reading was hotter than expected, it was in line with expectations, which once again raised optimism among investors that the Fed would not delay much in going ahead with the first rate cut.

In other economic data released on Thursday, personal income rose 1% month over month in January, surpassing expectations of a rise of 0.3%. Personal spending decreased 0.1%, lower than the consensus estimate of 0.2%.

The Labor Department reported that jobless claims totaled 215,000 for the week ending Feb 24, increasing 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 202,000. The four-week moving average was 212,500, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 215,500.

Continuing claims came in at 1,905,000, an increase of 45,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 1,860,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,879,750 an increase of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average of 1,877,000.

Pending home sales unexpectedly declined in January owing to rising mortgage rates. Pending home sales fell 4.9% month over month in January.

Monthly Roundup

Thursday’s session saw the end of February trading and also a fourth straight positive month for all three major indexes. The Dow added 846.09 points in February, ending 2.2% higher for the month.

The S&P 500 jumped 250.62 points for the month to close February 5.2% higher. The index has now gained 902.47 points or 21.5% in the past four months. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the month 6.1% higher.

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