US STOCKS-S&P 500 near flat but on track for biggest weekly gain of year

Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, March 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday afternoon, but the Dow and S&P 500 were on track for their biggest weekly percentage gains since mid-December after the Federal Reserve this week stuck with projections for three interest rate cuts by year's end.

An index of semiconductors .SOX was also up sharply for the week amid optimism over artificial intelligence.

On Friday, consumer discretionary shares edged lower.

Shares of NikeNKE.N were down 5.8% after the world's largest sportswear maker warned that revenue in the first half of fiscal 2025 would shrink by a low-single-digit percentage, as it scales back on franchises to save costs.

Lululemon AthleticaLULU.O shares were down 15.2% after it forecast annual revenue and profit below expectations.

Earlier in the week, the Fed left rates unchanged but signaled it was still on track for three rate cuts this year.

"The market took that as saying the Fed isn't your enemy any more, and eventually it is going to be your friend," said Matt Stucky, chief equity portfolio manager at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 180.07 points, or 0.45%, to 39,601.30, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.79 points, or 0.03%, to 5,243.32 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC gained 53.13 points, or 0.32%, to 16,454.97.

Traders now see about a 71% chance of the first rate cut hitting in June versus 56% at the start of this week, according to the CME's FedWatch Tool.

Among gainers, FedExFDX.N jumped 7% after the company beat Wall Street expectations for quarterly profit.

Digital World AcquisitionDWAC.O was down 5% after shareholders of the blank-check firm voted to approve its merger with former U.S. President Donald Trump's media and technology company.

10 of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors set for weekly gains https://tmsnrt.rs/3TNCOHl

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York Additional reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Matthew Lewis)


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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