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25/01/24 Briefing

Wall Street closed mixed on Tuesday on strong to mixed quarterly earnings. The S&P 500 continued to beat its record close for three straight sessions. Two of the major stock indexes ended in the green, while one ended in the red.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) slid 96.36 points, or 0.3%, to close at 37,905.45. Nineteen components of the 30-stock index ended in positive territory, while 11 ended in negative.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 65.66 points, or 0.4%, to close at 15,425.94.

The S&P 500 added 14.17 points, or 0.3%, to close at 4,864.60. Seven of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in the green. The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP), the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) advanced 1.1%, 1% and 0.4%, respectively, while the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) declined 0.5%.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 4.9% to 12.55. A total of 10.9 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, lower than the last 20-session average of 11.4 billion. Advancing issues outnumbered the declining ones on the S&P 500 by a 1.2-to-one ratio. The S&P 500 recorded 34 new highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq posted 102 new highs and 90 new lows.

The S&P 500 Improves on its Record High

Having fallen to a historic low in October 2022, it has taken the S&P 500 a year and a quarter to turn around decisively. On Tuesday, it improved upon its record close for the third straight session.

Currently, market participants are eagerly awaiting the upcoming quarterly reports from the "Magnificent 7" group of megacap companies to gauge whether this momentum will continue. Per LSEG data, the S&P 500 is trading at about 20 times forward 12-month earnings estimates, significantly more than its long-term average of 16 times.

Earnings Continue to Dominate Markets

Last year’s “everything rally” began on hopes of a Fed rate cut as early as March. While now it is being pondered that the central bank probably won’t be announcing cuts before June, the Dow and S&P 500 both have hit their record high closes recently, having adjusted their expectations. The markets, on the other hand, are reacting to a mixed start to the earnings season.

Tuesday saw a slew of earnings reports, with companies like Lockheed Martin Corporation LMT and Johnson & Johnson JNJ hogging the limelight. Stocks of LMT and JNJ fell 4.2% and 1.6%, respectively, and both carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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