Nasdaq and S&P 500 Slip from Record Highs

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June 14, 2024, marked a notable shift in the U.S. stock market as major indexes pulled back from record highs. Investors engaged in profit-taking while considering the implications of a hawkish Federal Reserve and signs of a slowing economy. This article delves into the key factors influencing the market’s performance and the broader economic context.

After a week of record-setting highs, U.S. stock indexes experienced their first session of decline. The Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) and the S&P 500 (.SPX) fell from their peaks, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) also retreated. By midday, the Dow was down 126.96 points (0.33%) to 38,520.14, the S&P 500 dropped 16.29 points (0.30%) to 5,417.45, and the Nasdaq decreased 30.57 points (0.17%) to 17,636.99.

Adding to market uncertainty, the Federal Reserve’s recent projections suggested a more conservative approach to rate cuts than previously anticipated. The Fed’s updated forecast scaled back expectations from three rate cuts this year to just one. This cautious stance contrasted with market expectations, which, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool, saw a more than 70% chance of a rate cut in September and two cuts by year-end.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester commented on the positive trend of lowering inflation, but this did little to alleviate concerns about the Fed’s restrained policy easing.

Economic data further complicated the market’s outlook. The University of Michigan’s preliminary Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 65.6 in June, significantly below expectations. This decline highlighted ongoing concerns about inflation and economic stability, contributing to the overall negative sentiment in the market.

The downturn was broad-based, with nine of the 11 S&P 500 sectors experiencing declines. Industrials led the losses with a 1.6% drop, while the economically sensitive small-cap Russell 2000 index lost 1.8%. Despite the general downturn, a few stocks stood out:

  • Adobe (ADBE.O): Adobe shares surged 14.5%, marking the company’s largest one-day gain in four years. The jump came after Adobe raised its annual revenue forecast, driven by robust demand for its AI-powered software, which helped mitigate losses on the Nasdaq.
  • Broadcom (AVGO.O): Broadcom continued its positive streak with a 1.7% rise following an upbeat forecast and the announcement of a 10-for-one stock split.
  • Arm Holdings (ARM.O): Shares of Arm Holdings rose 2.2% after news that the company would join the Nasdaq 100 index, replacing Sirius XM (SIRI.O), which slipped 0.8%.

The market’s optimism earlier in the week was driven by hopes of easing Fed policy and the strength of megacap stocks. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were on track for their seventh week of gains out of eight. However, the possibility of a second-half recession, which could force the Fed to cut rates more significantly, remains a concern.

Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird, noted that the market is pricing in a small but significant probability of a recession in the second half of the year.

A Bank of America Global Research report indicated that U.S. value stock funds saw $2.6 billion in outflows, while U.S. growth stock funds attracted $1.8 billion in inflows for the week ending Wednesday. This shift underscores investor preference for growth stocks amid economic uncertainties.

On the NYSE, declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 3.34-to-1 ratio, while on the Nasdaq, the ratio was 2.77-to-1. The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and 16 new lows, while the Nasdaq saw 19 new highs and 149 new lows.

The retreat in U.S. stock indexes reflects a complex interplay of profit-taking, hawkish Fed projections, and cooling economic data. While there is optimism about potential future rate cuts, ongoing concerns about inflation and consumer sentiment continue to weigh on investor confidence. As the year progresses, market participants will closely monitor the Federal Reserve’s actions and economic indicators to gauge the trajectory of the economy and financial markets.


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