Wall Street opens slightly higher as rate optimism persists

Posted on December 28, 2023 at 3:58 pm

by Augustine Turpin

Dec 28 (Reuters) – The New York Stock Exchange opened higher on Thursday as hopes for an expected rate cut next year were boosted by a bigger-than-expected rise in jobless claims.

In early trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 41.66 points, or 0.11%, to 37,698.18 and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 0.16% to 4,789.38.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3%, or 45.57 points, to 15,144.75.

After finishing in the green at the end of the mixed session on Wednesday, US indices continue their trajectory and are expected to post monthly, quarterly and annual gains.

Attention now shifts to the S&P 500. A close above January’s record high of 4,796.56 points would confirm that the flagship index has entered a bull market after bottoming out in a bear market in October 2022.

New U.S. jobless claims last week, the only leading indicator expected this Thursday, came in at a better-than-expected 218,000. The four-week moving average showed a slight decline to 212,000 from 212,250 the previous week.

“(The data) are showing signs of slowing, which makes sense for faster easing by the Fed,” said Thomas Hayes, president of private equity group Great Hill Capital LLC.

According to CME Group’s FedWatch barometer, financial markets expect the Fed to cut rates by at least 25 basis points in March with a probability of around 86%.

In terms of values, US-listed Chinese groups Alibaba, Pinduoduo and JD.COM rose 1.9%, 1.8% and 4.8% respectively.

Cingulate is up 198.7% after closing up 100% on Wednesday for no apparent reason, although the biopharmaceutical company said Thursday that it has received guidance from the US Drug Administration on its clinical program for Ctx -1301.

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