July 23, 2024
S&P 500 ekes out slight gain in final moments of trading to kick off busy week of inflation data, earnings

S&P 500 ekes out slight gain in final moments of trading to kick off busy week of inflation data, earnings

U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 eking out a slight gain in the final moments of trading, as investors returned from a three-day weekend to the start of a busy week for data and the first-quarter earnings season.

How stocks traded
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.46% finished up by 101.23 points, or 0.3%, at 33,586.52, its third straight session of gains.
  • The S&P 500 SPX, +0.26% advanced 4.09 points, or 0.1%, to 4,109.11 in the final minutes of trading, after being lower for much of the day.
  • The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.15% ended down by 3.6 points, or less than 0.1%, to finish at 12,084.36.
What drove the markets

Stocks put in a mixed performance in subdued trading for most of Monday as European markets remained closed for the Easter holiday. U.S. and European stock markets were both closed on Good Friday.

Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.27% led the Dow industrial’s decliners after market intelligence provider International Data Corp. reported that global personal-computer shipments sank 29% from a year ago on weak demand, excess inventory and a worsening economic environment. Apple shares finished down 1.6%.

More economic updates are on the way this week, with the focus on Wednesday’s consumer-price index reading for March, producer prices on Thursday and retail sales on Friday.

Also on Friday, some of the biggest Wall Street banks will mark the start of first-quarter earnings season, and the recent banking crisis has some analysts nervous about what to expect from those institutions. JPMorgan Chase JPM, +0.48%, Citigroup C, +1.03% and Wells Fargo WFC, +1.85% are among the big names expected to report.

Read: Banks on the line for deposit flows and margin pressure in Q1 updates as they reel from banking crisis

“For the most part, investors remain in complete wait-and-see mode to see which banks shake off the March concerns faster than others, and what might be coming next from management guidance,” said Jim Vogel, executive vice president at FHN Financial in Memphis. Meanwhile, “you’ve got a belief that the Fed is going to raise rates in a couple of weeks, removing some of the optimism from last week that the Fed might be done raising rates for a while,” he said via phone.

Prior hopes that the Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking program might be nearing an end have helped interest-rate-sensitive tech stocks gain 15.5% year to date as of Monday, outperforming a 7% rise for the S&P 500 and a 1.3% gain for the Dow.

But data released Friday showed the U.S. added 236,000 new jobs in March, undercutting hopes for a big slowdown in hiring and possibly opening the door to another interest-rate hike in May. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had predicted 238,000 new jobs would be created. The unemployment rate edged down to 3.5% from 3.6% and hourly wages rose a mild 0.3%.

“The employment report was solid and gave the green light to the Fed to go along its path of hiking rates in May,” said Lauren Henderson, an economist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. “But the market is still trying to digest what’s happening in the overall banking sector, which is weighing on expectations for further rate hikes beyond May,” she said via phone.

Geopolitical concerns were also on the radar, analysts said. On Monday, China’s military said it is “ready to fight” after completing three days of large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan that simulated sealing off the island in response to the Taiwanese president’s trip to the U.S. last week, the Associated Press reported.

Companies in focus
  • Shares of electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc.  TSLA, +1.93% finished down by 0.3% after data showed growth in automobile sales in China slowed sharply in March.
  • Shares of Micron Technology Inc.  MU, +0.68% closed up by 8%, as production cuts announced by rival Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.  005930, +0.30% provided a boost. 
  • Shares of Tupperware Brands Corp. TUP, +8.07% ended down by 48.8% after the food-storage products maker issued a going-concern warning late Friday, saying it had hired financial advisers to help steer it through near-term challenges.

Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this article.

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