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Stock Market Today: Dow ekes out gain as energy shines, but tech takes breather

Published 03/12/2024, 07:59 PM
Updated 03/13/2024, 04:02 PM
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Investing.com -- The Dow eked out a gain Wednesday, closing higher for a third-straight day, underpinned by energy stocks, but a slump in tech stocks kept gains in check as investors braced for further economic data due Thursday that could shape the Fed Reserve's outlook ahead of a decision next week. 

At 16:00 ET (20:00 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37 points, or 0.1%. The S&P 500 fell 0.2% and NASDAQ Composite fell 0.5%.

Energy stocks shine as oil prices jump

Energy stocks were the biggest gainers, led by Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO), Marathon Petroleum Corp (NYSE:MPC), APA Corporation (NASDAQ:APA), driven by a jump in oil prices after an unexpected decline in weekly U.S. inventories. 

Weekly U.S. crude supplies fell by 1.5M barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. As well as falling domestic supplies, Ukrainian attacks on Russian refineries also boosted oil prices.  

Tesla slumps on downgrade, Dollar Tree slumps on earning miss 

Shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell over 4% Wednesday after Wells Fargo downgraded the EV giant to the equivalent of a sell rating calling the company a "growth company with no growth."

Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) slumped 14% after the discount retailer reported fourth-quarter results that misses Wall Street estimates and announced plans to close nearly 1,000 stores. 

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) slips despite BofA upgrade; Intel lags after Pentagon ditches funding plan   

Nvidia fell more than 1% to weighing on the broader tech sector even as BofA Securities lifted its price target on the chip maker to $1100 from $925 ahead of next week's GTC conference.

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), meanwhile, fell more than 4% to add further pressure on chip stocks following media reports that the Pentagon scrapped plans for a $2.5 billion chip grant for the company.

Bill to force TikTok sale makes progress 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that could ban TikTok in the United States unless its Chinese owner Bytedance sells the company within six months amid national security concerns. Still, the bill -- dubbed Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act -- faces an uncertain path in the Senate amid division among lawmakers.

A ban on TikTok in the U.S., would likely prove a boon for rival social media platforms including Meta (NASDAQ:META)'s Instragram and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL)'s Youtube, Seema Shah, Vice President at Sensor Towers told Bloomberg on Wednesday.  

PPI inflation, retail sales data awaited 

Ahead of the Fed's meeting next, investors will parse the producer price index data and retail sales data for February due Thursday, for further clues on inflation and the strength of consumer spending, respectively. 

The data come ahead of the Fed's meeting on Mar.19-20, when the central bank is expected to keep interest rates unchanged.

Traders are pricing in a 60% chance of a 25 basis point cut in June, according to the CME Fedwatch tool

"We continue to expect the FOMC to leave the Fed funds rate unchanged at the March meeting and to begin the easing cycle in June," Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) said in a recent note.

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