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26/01/24 Briefing

Updated: Jan 27

Wall Street closed mixed on Wednesday, led by a rally in energy and semiconductor stocks. The S&P 500 managed a record close for the fourth straight session. 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 99.06 points, or 0.3%, to close at 37,806.39. Twenty components of the 30-stock index ended in negative territory, while 10 ended in positive.


The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 55.98 points, or 0.4%, to close at 15,481.92.

The S&P 500 added 3.95 points, or 0.1%, to close at 4,868.55. Seven of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in the red. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU), the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) and the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) declined 1.4% each, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) advanced 1.4%.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 4.7% to 13.14. A total of 11.6 billion shares were traded on Wednesday, higher than the last 20-session average of 11.4 billion. Declining issues outnumbered the advancing ones on the S&P 500 by a 2.5-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 Continues to Improve on its Record High

Even as most of its broad sectors returned to a losing session, gains made from the energy and tech sectors ensured that the S&P 500 closed the day marginally in the green, thus ending on a fourth straight record high. Currently, market participants are keeping a keen watch on the fourth-quarter earnings season to gauge whether this momentum will continue.

Oil Prices and Semiconductor Stocks Drive the Market

Oil prices went up by about 1% on Wednesday on a decrease in U.S. crude output and a depletion of its stockpile. China’s central bank cut into the country’s banks' reserve ratio, raising hopes of a government stimulus that would help its economy. These measures had a positive impact on oil prices because China is the largest oil importer in the world. Brent crude rose 49 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $80.04/barrel, while WTI crude ended 72 cents, or 1.0%, at $75.09.

Riding on the performance of semiconductor equipment major ASML Holding N.V.’s ASML strong fourth-quarter earnings results, the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index rose 1.5% to a record high, sensing rising global chip demand. 

ASML’s shares jumped 8.9% after reporting adjusted earnings of $5.60 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.12. The company registered orders of more than 9 billion euros in the quarter, more than three times the order bulk of the quarter prior. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Consequently, shares of Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM and NVIDIA Corporation NVDA rose 1.7% and 2.5%, respectively. NVIDIA currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Economic Data

Per a government report, for the week ending Jan 19, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 9.2 million barrels from the previous week. The number from the previous week remained unchanged at a decrease of 2.5 million barrels.

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