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Stock Market Today: S&P 500 notches record close as stocks continue record run

Published 03/20/2024, 08:15 PM
Updated 03/21/2024, 04:08 PM
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Investing.com-- The S&P 500 closed at record highs Thursday, as rally in stocks continued, a day after the Federal Reserve continued to signal three rate cuts for this year.  

At 16:00 ET (20:00 GMT), the S&P 500 rose 0.3% to a closing record of 5,239.88, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 269 points, or 0.7%, and the NASDAQ Composite climbed 0.20%. All three major averages closed at record highs for the second straight day. 

Post-Fed rally continues 

Risk appetite has been boosted by the prospect of lower interest rates and a resilient U.S. economy, after Fed officials maintained their forecasts for three rate cuts this year.

Goldman Sachs economists said in a Wednesday note they believe that Federal Reserve are unlikely to delay rate cuts for an extended period and are planning the first reduction at the June meeting.

“We continue to expect cuts in June, September, and December, for a total of 3 cuts in 2024,” they added.

On the economic front, data continued to show strength in the labor market as new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, while the Phillip Fed index reading surprised to the upside, underscoring the recovery in manufacturing activity.  

Additionally, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index showed unexpected growth in March.

Apple gets hit with DoJ antitrust lawsuit

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) fell more than 4% after the U.S. Department of Justice and 16 states on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, alleging that it is illegally monopolizing the smartphone market. 

Apple in statement vowed to "vigorously" defend against the lawsuit, believing it to be "wrong on the facts and the law."

Micron jumped as chip stocks continue to soar; Astera adds to gains

Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) stock soared 14%, climbing to a record high, after the chipmaker posted a surprise profit and forecast strong current-quarter revenue on soaring demand for its memory chips used in AI computing.

MU is not expected to peak "until gross margin peaks and with wafer capacity addition plans (outside of China) still very muted and HBM putting even more pressure on capacity, this seems unlikely until well into 2025 at the earliest," the company said.

Astera Labs Inc (NASDAQ:ALAB) continued to rocker higher, rising 3% after the data center connectivity chipmaker's stock market debut a day earlier. 

Other chipmakers including NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) were also higher. 

Darden Restaurants, Five Below falter on earnings stage 

Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) stock fell over 6% after the Olive Garden owner missed revenue expectations, as same-store sales shrank for the first time since the pandemic.

Five Below Inc (NASDAQ:FIVE) fell more than 15% after the discount retailer reported quarterly results that fell short of Wall Street analysts following as higher-than-expected shrink - a loss in inventory not due to sales - dented profit.

Reddit rallies on stock market debut

Reddit Inc (NYSE:RDDT) surged on its stock market debut Thursday, ending the day up 47% after opening up at $47, well above its IPO price of $35 a share.

The social media company, which generates the bulk of its revenue of advertising, is aiming to leverage the AI wave by licensing its the data on its platform for the third-party companies seeking to build large learning models.

(Peter Nurse, Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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