Market Snapshot: Dow turns lower as stocks waver after longest winning streak in 2 years

U.S. stocks wavered Wednesday afternoon, after a winning streak that’s pushed the S&P 500 index up more than 6% over seven days.

What’s happening

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average
    was off 55.9 points, or 0.2%, at 34,096

  • The S&P 500
    was up 2.3 points, or 0.1%, at 4,380.

  • The Nasdaq Composite
    gained 10.3 points, or 0.1%, to 13,650.

On Tuesday, the Dow and S&P 500 booked a seventh straight gain, while the Nasdaq rose for an eighth straight day. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq winning streaks were the longest since November 2021.

What’s driving markets

Stock-market investors were pausing for breath ahead of a busy roster of speeches from Federal Reserve officials, amid expectations they may try to push back against market expectations the central bank is set to begin significantly cutting interest rates in 2024.

New York Fed President John Williams was due to give the keynote speech at a conference at 1:40 p.m.; Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr speaks at the NAHB conference at 2 p.m.; and Fed Vice Chair Phillip Jefferson makes the closing remarks at the research conference at 4:45 p.m.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell offered no remarks on monetary policy when he welcomed participants to a Fed conference on economic forecasting ahead of the opening bell. Powell on Thursday is due to deliver a more closely watched speech.

The S&P 500 index has risen 6.3% over the course of its winning streak. Much of the propulsion has again come from big technology stocks. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite is up 8.3% over an eight-day streak, also the best run in two years.

Driving the advance was a sharp fall in implied borrowing costs after last week’s Federal Reserve statement, and soft October jobs data bolstered hopes that interest rate cuts could soon be on the horizon, according to Derren Nathan, head of equity research at Hargreaves Lansdown.

However, Nathan added: “stocks may well pause for breath as investors balance the hope for rate cuts with building financial stresses in the economy. And it wouldn’t be the first time it the current cycle of elevated interest rates that the market has been wrong about the timing of the Fed pivot.”

A period of consolidation for stocks was understandable given the extent of recent gains and the lack of important macroeconomic news this week, said Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat.

“But…given the bearish positioning by both institutional and retail investors, we believe stocks likely levitate on the absence of macro news,” Lee added.

“I don’t necessarily think we’re off to the races here. We think we’re still kind of in a range and trending up now toward the high end of the range,” according to James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson.

Meanwhile, even though the third quarter earnings have been better than expected, the fourth quarter earnings estimates have fallen a bit, Ragan said in a call. “We still think there’s there’s still some uncertainty about the earnings growth next year,” Ragan noted.

There were no top-tier economic reports on the calendar Wednesday, but investors were eyeing the Treasury Department’s auction of 10-year notes
which was met with average demand after factoring in its increased size.

See: Treasury’s $40 billion 10-year auction goes as expected, strategist says

Companies in focus

  • Rivian Automotive Inc. shares
    fell 3.4%, giving up earlygains seen after the EV maker narrowed its quarterly loss and said it ended an exclusivity deal with Inc. for its last-mile electric delivery vans.

  • Robinhood Markets Inc.
    fell more than 14% after the trading app reported quarterly revenues that missed expectations.

  • EBay Inc.
    dropped 3% after the online marketplace offered a tepid revenue forecast for the holiday quarter amid intensifying competition from Inc.
    and others.

  • Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.
    slumped 17% after the studio and streaming video company reported a wider-than-expected third loss, while revenue just topped expectations.

— Jamie Chisholm contributed.

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