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28/06/24 Briefing

Wall Street cast off fears of a US recession and never looked back, blazing a record-shattering path in the first half of 2024, fueled by muscular earnings and AI exuberance.

Stocks closed down slightly Friday to end the week, the month and the first half. But the year-to-date gains tell a story of optimism, with analysts calling for more records later in the year.

The latest reading from a closely watched inflation gauge Friday fanned hopes that cooling price pressures will lead the Fed to cut rates as early as September.

The S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed roughly 0.4% at the closing bell but has logged a near-15% climb for the first half of 2024. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) gave up around 0.7%, with an almost 19% year-to-date advance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) decreased 0.1% Friday. It has lagged behind the more tech-heavy indexes so far this year, notching an overall gain of 4%.

The so-called Magnificent Seven has powered much of the stock market's rally. And the AI darling Nvidia (NVDA) served as the most glaring symbol of the success of the AI trade and the staying power of 2024's build up. Shares of the chip designer have rocketed 150% higher this year.

Even as stocks booked a stellar first half, recent wobbles — most notably from Nvidia — have fanned fears of a pullbackfor the rest of the year.

Meanwhile, with November's US election high on the list of risks, investors took note of President Joe Biden's weak showing in his first debate against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. The former president's promised tax cuts and trade clampdown are seen as likely to boost stocks. But shares in Trump Media & Technology Group (DJT) lost 10%.

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