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07/03/24 Briefing

U.S. stock markets closed higher after two days of decline. The Congressional testimony of Powell was in line with markets expectations. Strong earnings reports also boosted market participants confidence on risky assets like equities. All three major stock indexes ended in positive territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up 0.2% to close at 38,661.05. Notably, 14 components of the 30-stock index ended in negative territory and 16 ended in positive zone. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished at 16,031.54, gaining 0.6% due to strong performance by technology stocks.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to finish at 5,104.76. Ten out of 11 broad sectors of the broad-market index ended in positive territory while one in negative zone. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU), the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) increased 1%, 0.8% and 0.8%, respectively.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was up 0.3% to 14.50.

Powell’s Congressional Testimony

The Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is likely to initiate interest rate cut this year but not any time soon. In a prepared statement before the House of Representatives, Powell said, “In considering any adjustments to the target range for the policy rate, we will carefully assess the incoming data, the evolving outlook, and the balance of risks. The Committee does not expect that it will be appropriate to reduce the target range until it has gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2 percent.”Per Powell, “We think because of the strength in the economy and the strength in the labor market and the progress we’ve made, we can approach that step carefully and thoughtfully and with greater confidence. When we reach that confidence, the expectation is we will do so sometime this year. We can then begin dialing back that restriction on our policy.”

Strong Earnings Results

Campbell Soup Co. CPB reported second-quarter fiscal 2024 adjusted earnings per share of $0.80, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.77. Net sales of $2,456 million outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,422.4 million.Korn/Ferry KFY came out with quarterly earnings of $1.07 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.99 per share. The company posted quarterly revenues of $668.68 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.07%.V2X Inc. VVX came out with quarterly earnings of $1.22 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.07 per share. The company posted quarterly revenues of $1.04 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.32%.Consequently, stock prices of Campbell Soup, Korn/Ferry and V2X were up 0.8%, 1.3% and 2.2%, respectively. Korn/Ferry currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Economic Data

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report of the Department of Labor revealed that There were 1.45 jobs for every unemployed person in January up from 1.42 in December. Job openings fell 26,000 to 8.863 million in January, missing the consensus estimate of 8.9 million. The number of workers resigning from their jobs, dropped 54,000 to 3.385 million in January, the lowest level since January 2021.Automatic Data Processing Inc. ADP reported that private-payrolls in February came in at 140,000, missing the consensus estimate of 150,000. However, the metric increased 29,000 month-over-month over the January’s upwardly revised data of 110,000.

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