Wall Street opens hesitantly, S&P 500 nears record

Posted on December 29, 2023 at 3:49 pm

by Augustine Turpin

Dec 29 (Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange opened the final session of a positive year on Friday unchanged, with the benchmark S&P 500 nearing a record high, driven by investor expectations of a Fed rate cut in early 2024.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 2.88 points, or 0.01%, to 37,712.98 and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 was flat at 4,783.38.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.02%, or 2.38 points, to 15,097.51.

The three major indexes are expected to post monthly and quarterly gains, which would put them on track for double-digit gains in 2023.

Indeed, the Dow Jones hit a record high on Thursday, while the Nasdaq is on track for its strongest annual gain since 2003 after a clear recovery last year.

Additionally, a close of the S&P 500 above its all-time high set in January 2022 would confirm that the index has entered a bull market after hitting the bottom of the bear market in October 2022.

“Sentiment has changed dramatically over the past few months. The fact that the Fed is now expected to cut rates next year has added pressure to the market,” said Paul Nolte, an analyst at financial services firm Murphy & Sylvest.

While optimism may continue in the short term, Paul Nolte points to the continued risk of inflation continuing to rise in 2024, which could force the Fed to keep interest rates at their high levels.

In terms of values, Fisker shares rose 9.3% in early trading, with the electric vehicle maker reporting a more than 300% quarter-over-quarter increase in its shipments.

(Written by Augustin Turpin, Editing by Kate Entringer)

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