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Stock Market Today: S&P 500 closes higher as tech cuts losses, retailers shine

Published 27/02/2024, 11:28 am
Updated 28/02/2024, 08:08 am

Investing.com-- The S&P 500 closed higher Tuesday, as dip buyers helped tech cut some losses and better-than-expected quarterly results from Macy's and Lowe's pushed retail stocks higher ahead of a key inflation report later this week . 

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), The S&P 500 gained 0.2%, the NASDAQ Composite rose 0.4%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 96 points, or 0.3%.

Macy's, Lowe's lead retailers higher after earnings beat

Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) started the ball rolling earlier Tuesday, reported fourth-quarter net sales that topped Wall Street estimates despite an ongoing slowdown in spending on home improvement projects. Its stock rose nearly 2%.

Macy’s (NYSE:M) stock rose 4% after the Bloomingdale's owner unveiled strategy overhaul aimed at creating a "more modern" business, as it has been struggling with weak demand as shoppers, squeezed by high inflation and elevated interest rates, pull back spending on discretionary items.

The duo of reports come amid a busy week for quarterly earnings from retailers including TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) set to release quarterly earnings this week.

Consumer showing signs of trouble; Fed speakers continue to urge caution on rate cuts

Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to 106.7 in February from 110.9 the prior month, marking a three-month low, as the impact of inflation continue to weigh on consumers. 

"Similar to businesses curtailing investment amid a still positive but uncertain outlook for the economy as well as monetary and fiscal policy, consumers are growing less confident, Stifel said in a note. 

Durable goods orders, meanwhile, fell more than expected in January amid a sharp drop in bookings for commercial aircraft, falling 6.1% last month.

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The duo of reports come a Fed officials continue to urge caution on cutting rates too soon. 

"With inflation running above target, labor markets tight and demand showing considerable momentum, my own view is that there is no need to preemptively adjust the stance of policy," Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Schmid said in his first extensive public remarks on Monday since he began the job last August. 

Zoom a bright spot in tech; Unity Software, Workday guidance fall short

Zoom (NASDAQ:ZM) rose 8% after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings, while also announcing a $1.5 billion share buyback The video conferencing firm's "guidance for an acceleration in 2H [second half of the year] as well as a new $1.5 billion buyback to offset dilution and that might lower the risk of large-scale M&A," UBS said in a note. 

Unity Software (NYSE:U) fell 6% after the videogame software maker reported weaker-than-expected guidance amid turnaround plan that includes exiting some businesses.

Workday (NASDAQ:WDAY) fell 4% after keeping its subscription sales guidance unchanged despite the top line beat as "operating margin expansion is expected to slow in FY25 owing to significantly higher net new Opex to support durable growth," Oppenheimer said in a note.

Energy stocks slip despite oil gains amid fresh hopes for extended OPEC+ cuts 

Energy stock slipped, weighed down by weakness in Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES), Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX), and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) even as oil prices climbed following a Reuters report that the OPEC and its allies, or OPEC+, are considering extending voluntary oil output cuts into Q2.

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In November last year, OPEC+ agreed to voluntary cuts totalling about 2.2 million barrels per day for the first quarter this year, though dealmaking between members was fraught with disagreement over output limits.  

Bitcoin continues rise after briefly topping $57K

Bitcoin continued to rise, briefly jumping above $57,000 as crypto demand continues to accelerate following the approval of bitcoin-spot exchange-traded funds in the United States last month. In a further sign of growing demand, MicroStrategy said it had purchased about 3,000 bitcoins, taking its BTC holding to 193,000.

(Peter Nurse Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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