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28/03/24 Briefing

Stocks were steady on Thursday morning as markets were set to close a fruitful first quarter of 2024.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC), the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) were all hovering near the flatline. The benchmark S&P set its latest record close of the year on Wednesday, while the Dow surged nearly 500 points.

With markets closed for the Good Friday holiday, Thursday will mark the final trading session of the quarter. It's been a banner one for Wall Street: Both the S&P and Nasdaq are up around 10% so far this year.

What largely started as a megacap-driven rally has shown signs of broadening. Wall Street firms almost can't keep pace with the S&P's surge and have continued to move up their year-end price targets. And history suggests the momentum could continue.

A final reading on fourth-quarter GDP released on Thursday morning showed the US economy grew at a rate of 3.4% versus a prior estimate of 3.2%. On the employment front, initial jobless claims for last week came in at 210,000, versus estimates for 212,000.

Though Wall Street is closed Friday, investors will be watching for the main data event of the week: the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index, which contains the Federal Reserve's preferred "core" PCE inflation measure.

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