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22/01/24 Briefing

Wall Street closed sharply higher on Friday, led by tech stocks. A tech rally fueled by chipmaker stocks and optimism around artificial intelligence pulled their weight. All three major stock indexes ended in the green.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 395.19 points, or 1.1%, to close at 37,863.80. Twenty-five components of the 30-stock index ended in positive territory, while five ended in negative.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 255.32 points, or 1.7%, to close at 15,310.97.

The S&P 500 added 58.87 points, or 1.2%, to close at 4,839.81. Nine of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK), the Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) advanced 2.3%, 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively, while the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) declined 0.3%.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 65.9% to 13.30. A total of 12.3 billion shares were traded on Friday, higher than the last 20-session average of 11.5 billion. Advancing issues outnumbered the declining ones on the S&P 500 by a 2.9-to-one ratio. The S&P 500 recorded 60 new highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq posted 97 new highs and 191 new lows.

The S&P 500 Enters a Bull Market

Having fallen to a historic low in October 2022, Friday’s gain technically meant that, by one measure, the S&P 500 had entered a bull market. This was officially confirmed by the benchmark index.

Between its January 2022 high and the October low, the S&P 500 had fallen 25% and was in the bear region. Friday marks a remarkable turnaround and lifted investor mood.

Semiconductor Rally and AI Optimism Lead the Session’s Gains

Super Micro Computer, Inc. SMCI ramped up its second-quarter profit forecast, and its shares skyrocketed by rising 35.9%, sending chipmaker stocks to scale dizzy heights. The rising demand for chips used in the artificial intelligence segment also contributed to the increasing stock prices for the sector.

Consequently, shares of NVIDIA Corporation NVDA and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. AMD soared 4.2% and 7.1%, respectively. NVIDIA carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Weekly Roundup

Last Friday, the three widely followed indexes closed out a second straight winning week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.7%, 1.2% and 2.3%, respectively. Expectations of a Fed rate cut of at least 25 bps in March moved down to 52% to close out the week, according to CME's FedWatch Tool.

Economic Data

The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales for December had come in at 3.78 million units, down 1% from November. In the month prior, it had come in at 3.82 million units.

Per the University of Michigan, consumer sentiment for January came in at an unexpectedly high level of 78.8, against a consensus of 69.7 for the period. The number reported for December remained unchanged at 69.7.

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