Stock Market News for Mar 22, 2024

Market News

Wall Street ended higher on Thursday, buoyed by positive economic indicators suggesting promising growth in the coming months, along with robust earnings reports. All three major stock indexes ended in positive territory.

How Did the Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) jumped 0.7% or 269.24 points to close at 39,781.37. Notably, 18 components of the 30-stock index ended in positive territory, while 11 finished in negative zone and one unchanged. The major gainer of the blue-chip index was The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. GS after its stock price surged 4.4%. Goldman Sachs currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You Can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 32.43 points or 0.2% to close at 16,401.84.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3% or 16.91 points to end at 5,241.53. Of the 11 broad sectors of the benchmark, 10 ended in positive territory, while one ended in the red zone. The Industrials Select Sector SPDR (XLI), the Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF), the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) and the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) rose 1%, 0.8%, 0.6% and 0.6%, respectively, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) declined 0.2%.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 0.9% to 12.92. A total of 11.43 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 12.39 billion. The S&P 500 posted 116 new 52-week highs and one new 52-week low. The Nasdaq Composite registered 365 new 52-week highs and 59 new 52-week lows.

Drop in Unemployment Claims Signals Stability

In the latest economic update, the U.S. economy shows signs of resilience and strength. Unexpectedly, there was a drop in claims for unemployment benefits, hinting at stability in the job market. Per the Labor Department, new jobless claims went down to 210,000 for the week ending Mar 16, a drop of 2,000 from the previous week. The four-week average rose to 211,250, with an increase of 2,500 in the week.

Continuing claims were 1,807,000 for the week ending Mar 9, with an increase of 4,000 from the revised level of the week. The average over four weeks was reported at 1,802,250, showing an increase of 5,000 compared to the week's revised average.

Moreover, sales of existing homes experienced a surge in February, marking its largest increase in a year. The National Association of Realtors stated that existing home sales reached 4.38 million units in February, surpassing expectations of around 3.93 million units.

The Federal Reserve decided to maintain the interest rates, showing its confidence in the economic growth path. Given these indicators, analysts believe that the Fed might postpone the rate cut until June. The overall economic outlook for the United States appears promising, with expectations of growth in the coming months.

Strong Earnings

Winnebago Industries, Inc. WGO reported second-quarter 2024 adjusted earnings of $0.93 per
share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.86 per share. The recreational vehicle maker generated total revenues of $703.6 million, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.58%. As a result, shares of WGO gained 6.2%.

Commercial Metals Company CMC reported second-quarter 2024 adjusted earnings of $0.88 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.70 per share. The manufacturer and recycler of steel and metal products generated total revenues of $1.85 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.34%. As a result, shares of CMC rose 5.3%.

Economic Data

The Conference Board reported that Leading Economic Index rose 0.1% in February to a reading of 102.8, following a 0.4% decline in January.

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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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