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Market Update 03/11/24

Hashim Effendi

Markets remained mixed between March 5-11 as investors weighed key economic data and comments from the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Markets closed lower on Tuesday following the release of weak economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1%, the S&P 500 fell 1% and the Nasdaq fell 1.7%.

The Technology Select Sector and the Real Estate Select Sector declined 2.5% and 1.3%, respectively.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index can be used as a gauge of investor sentiment regarding equity markets. The CBOE Volatility Index rose 1% to $14.46.

By Wednesday’s close, the three major indexes ended in the green after Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony. The Dow increased 0.2%, the S&P 500 increased 0.5% and the Nasdaq increased 0.6%.

The Utilities Select Sector and the Consumer Staples Select Sector rose 1% and 0.8%, respectively. 

The CBOE Volatility Index increased 0.3% to $14.50. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that job openings decreased 26,000 to 8,863,000 for January 2024. 

The three major indexes closed higher on Thursday following dovish comments made by Powell. The Dow added 0.3%, the S&P 500 added 1% and the Nasdaq added 1.5%. 

The Communication Services Select Sector and the Technology Select Sector each added 1.6%, respectively.

“We think because of the strength in the economy and the strength in the labor market and the progress we’ve made, we can approach that step carefully and thoughtfully and with greater confidence,” Powell said in a prepared speech on Capitol Hill, according to Reuters.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that jobless claims remained unchanged at a value of 217,000 for the week ended Feb. 24.

Markets closed lower on Friday following a decline in semiconductor stocks. The Dow lost 0.2%, the S&P 500 lost 0.7% and the Nasdaq lost 1.2%. 

The Technology Select Sector, the Consumer Staples Select Sector and the Materials Select Sector fell 1.5%, 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index added 2.1% to a value of $14.74.

The three major indexes closed mixed on Monday ahead of the release of key inflation data. The Dow rose 0.1%, the S&P 500 declined 0.1% and the Nasdaq declined 0.4%.

Investors looked forward to the release of the Consumer Price Index. As the Fed remains keen on achieving a target inflation rate of 2%, investors should keep track of changes in inflation data which could provide insight into the future of rate cuts.

Investments pertaining to the Utilities Select Sector could provide a robust opportunity. Firms in the industry typically carry a high debt burden and stand to benefit as the Fed contemplates rate cuts.

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