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13/03/24 Briefing

Wall Street closed sharply higher on Tuesday, led by technology stocks. Inflation numbers came in warm but in line with expectations, thereby calming down investor sentiments. The possibility of a collaboration between two tech behemoths dominated headlines. All three major stock indexes ended in the green.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 235.74 points, or 0.6%, to close at 39,005.4. Twenty-two components of the 30-stock index ended in positive territory, seven ended in negative, while one remained unchanged.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 246.36 points, or 1.5%, to close at 16,265.64.

The S&P 500 gained 57.3 points, or 1.1%, to close at 5,175.24. Seven of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK), the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) advanced 2.1%, 0.9% and 0.9%, respectively, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) declined 1%.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 9.1% to 13.84. A total of 11 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 12.1 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners by a 1.28-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. On the Nasdaq, declining issues outnumbered advancing ones by a 1.20-to-1 ratio.

Tech Stocks Stage a Comeback

A day after database giant Oracle Corporation ORCL reported upbeat quarterly earnings, it teased an upcoming joint announcement with chipmaker and toast of the last two seasons, NVIDIA Corporation NVDA, most likely to be announced at the latter’s GTC developer conference slated for early next week. While Oracle’s shares went through the roof, rising 11.8%, Nvidia rose 7.2%.

This, coupled with the solace that came in from Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers from February released on the day, helped the tech stocks stage a turnaround from the mini-slump since Apple Inc.’s AAPL China woes were reported last week. Semiconductor stocks, in particular, had a winning session, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (SOX) rising 2.1% and snapping a 2-day losing streak.

Consequently, shares of Super Micro Computer, Inc. SMCI and 3M Company MMM gained 7.7% and 5%, respectively. Super Micro Computer currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

CPI Comes In Line With Expectations

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPI increased 0.4% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3% in January. The index increased 3.2% on a year-over-year basis. Alongside, the index for all items less food and energy, which is also known as core CPI, rose 0.4% in February, as it did in January.

While these numbers have come in warm, they are in line with what analysts had expected. Thus, these are seemingly not a cause of concern for the market participants. They now see a 70% chance of the first rate cut from the Fed coming in June, per the CME FedWatch Tool. Investors are now starting to buy into the notion that there would be rate cuts in the year notwithstanding the timeline, and even if inflation does not come rapidly down, it would be a better outcome than an economy needing stimulus.

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