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Nasdaq 100, Dow Jones, S&P 500 News: Wall Street Eyes Record Highs in Q1, Buoyed by AI Surge, Fed Optimism

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Robust Gains in Q1

Wall Street concluded the first quarter of 2024 on a high note, with significant gains in the major U.S. indexes. The surge was driven by a combination of AI technology advancements and optimism about Federal Reserve rate cuts. Notably, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) neared the landmark 40,000 level, showcasing the market’s robust health.

At 15:06 GMT, the blue chip Dow is trading 39750.69, down 9.39 or -0.02%. The benchmark S&P 500 Index is at 5254.18, up 5.69 or +0.11% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite is trading 16408.01, up 8.49 or -0.05%.

Economic Data and Market Drivers

Key economic indicators painted a picture of a strengthening economy. The U.S. GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter of 2023 exceeded initial estimates, and unemployment claims dropped to 210,000 for the week ending March 23. These factors, combined with the anticipated release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE), are guiding investor sentiment and shaping expectations for the Fed’s policy path.

Federal Reserve’s Stance

Amidst this economic backdrop, Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller’s remarks suggest a cautious approach to adjusting short-term interest rates, although later reductions remain a possibility. The market anticipates a 64% chance of the Fed commencing rate cuts by June, a critical factor influencing near-term trading strategies.

Sectoral Analysis

In a sector-specific outlook, while some mega-cap growth stocks faced slight declines, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (.SOX) projected a strong upward trajectory, anticipating significant quarterly gains. On the flip side, communication services and other sectors experienced minor pullbacks. Interestingly, cryptocurrency and blockchain companies saw a rebound, aligning with Bitcoin’s recent recovery.

Corporate Movements and Impacts

In corporate news, Home Depot’s announcement of its largest-ever acquisition, the $18.25 billion purchase of SRS Distribution, indicates a strategic shift towards professional market segments. Other major companies like Walgreens Boots Alliance and Estee Lauder also made headlines, reflecting the varied corporate dynamics influencing the market.

Short-Term Market Forecast

Looking ahead, the robust performance in Q1, combined with positive economic indicators, suggests a bullish outlook for Wall Street. However, the upcoming earnings season and potential shifts in Federal Reserve policies are key variables that could impact this trajectory. Investors are likely to maintain a bullish stance, but with a cautious eye on evolving economic and corporate fundamentals.

Technical Analysis

Daily E-mini S&P 500 Index

Light pre-holiday volume is contributing to the E-mini S&P 500’s tepid performance on Thursday. Nonetheless, the market remains in a position to post notable gains for the month and the quarter.

The benchmark index has spent the entire quarter inside a rising wedge formation. It is providing support today at 5245.75 with the upside target 5358.75.

Given the amount of time the index has spent inside the rising wedge, it’s likely to be the key indicator to watch as we begin Q2 on Monday.

This article was originally posted on FX Empire

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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