Dow Gains as Fed Signals Pause on Rate Hikes; Broader Markets Face Pressure from Tech Sector

Vida Markets

Thursday 2nd May 2024, 11:32 am Time to read: 6 mins.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day on a positive note, lifted by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's recent statements suggesting a potential pause on interest rate hikes, which calmed investor fears over persistent inflation. Despite the Dow's gains, the broader market experienced downturns, notably within the technology sector, where losses in prominent chipmakers

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day on a positive note, lifted by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's recent statements suggesting a potential pause on interest rate hikes, which calmed investor fears over persistent inflation. Despite the Dow's gains, the broader market experienced downturns, notably within the technology sector, where losses in prominent chipmakers led to a slight retreat in the S&P 500. The relationship between ongoing economic indicators and central bank strategies continues to shape market dynamics, as investors navigate the uncertainties of rate policies and their broader economic implications.

Key Takeaways:

Dow Shows Resilience Amid Rate Hike Speculations: The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw an uptick, gaining 87.37 points, or 0.23%, to close higher despite broader market pressures. At one point, the index soared, rallying more than 500 points during the session.
S&P 500 and Nasdaq Retreat Amid Tech Struggles: Contrasting with the Dow, the S&P 500 declined by 0.34%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.33%. These indexes felt the weight of the struggling tech sector, particularly chipmakers, which saw significant losses following lacklustre forecasts.
Federal Reserve Signals Cautious Optimism: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the next move by the Fed is unlikely to be a rate hike, citing ongoing challenges in reducing inflation to the 2% target. This has provided some relief to the markets, tempering fears of immediate rate hikes.
European Markets Quiet During Labour Day Observances: Most European markets remained closed for the May Day public holiday, contributing to quieter trading conditions. However, London’s FTSE 100 index was active, ending the session 0.3% lower, extending earlier losses amid concerns about global economic pressures and the upcoming decisions on interest rates by central banks.
Asian Markets Dip as Investors Anticipate Fed Decisions: With most Asian markets closed for the Labor Day holiday, trading was limited in the region. However, Japan’s Nikkei 225 managed a decrease of 0.34%, closing at 38,274.05, and the broad-based Topix index fell 0.5% to end at 2,729.4. Similarly, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 faced a sharper decline, dropping 1.23% to finish at 7,569.9.
Treasury Yields Respond to Fed's Cautious Approach: Following Powell’s comments, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped below 4.6%, a relief to investors who feared it might exceed 5% this year, potentially tightening economic conditions further.
Employment and Manufacturing Data Show Mixed Signals: The US ADP employment change reported a stronger-than-expected increase of 192,000 jobs, while the ISM manufacturing index indicated a contraction with a decrease to 49.2, pointing to ongoing complexities in economic recovery.
FX Today:

EUR/USD Gains Amid Dovish Fed Outlook: The EUR/USD pair experienced an uplift, climbing to $1.0690 as the market digested the Federal Reserve's indications of maintaining the current rate, with the euro gaining 0.23% against the dollar by the day's end. The pair's movements reflected investor recalibration of rate expectations, particularly after a dovish hint from the Fed.
GBP/USD Edges Higher in Cautious Trade: The GBP/USD pair saw minimal movement but managed a slight increase to $1.2491, a gain of 0.01%. Investors remained cautious, parsing through global economic cues and the Fed's recent statements, which have significant implications for interest rate differentials.
USD/JPY Weakens as Focus Turns to Rate Speculations: The USD/JPY pair declined, dropping 0.18% to 157.52. The yen found some support following the Fed's rate decision and the broader market's search for safer assets amid ongoing economic uncertainties.
Canadian Dollar Improves Post-Fed Statements: The USD/CAD pair showed a decrease, reflecting a stronger Canadian dollar in light of the Fed's indications toward a more cautious approach to rate hikes. The pair was last trading around the 1.3700 mark, down from a high near 1.3780.
Gold Prices React to Fed's Hold on Rates: The spot price of gold showed resilience, hovering around $2,300 as the Federal Reserve's decision to hold rates steady provided support for the precious metal. The potential for price movements remains, with resistance seen near the April 26 high of $2,352 and support around the April 23 low of $2,291.
Oil Prices Slide on Inventory Surge and Demand Concerns: US crude oil prices fell sharply to $79.10 a barrel, a decline of over 3%, hitting a seven-week low as inventories surged and demand appeared lacklustre. Brent crude also declined, dropping to $83.56 a barrel, as market participants adjusted their expectations in light of the Fed's cautious stance on rate adjustments.
Market Movers:

Advanced Micro Devices Faces Sharp Decline: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) experienced a notable drop, closing down more than 8% after projecting Q2 revenues to range between $5.4 billion and $6.0 billion, below the midpoint of market expectations set at $5.72 billion.
Super Micro Computer Takes a Hit: Shares of Super Micro Computer slid more than 14% following a Q3 net sales report of $3.85 billion, slightly missing the consensus estimate of $3.86 billion, underscoring investor concerns about its revenue trajectory.
Carvana Surges on Record Sales: Carvana saw its shares spike by 32%, buoyed by a record-breaking first quarter that outpaced Wall Street predictions, showcasing robust sales growth and a profitable quarter, which marked a significant turnaround for the used car retailer.
CVS Health Corp Leads S&P 500 Decliners: CVS Health Corp ended the day down more than 16% after reporting a Q1 adjusted EPS of $1.31, falling short of the consensus estimate of $1.69, and revising its full-year EPS forecast significantly downwards, causing investor confidence to wane.
Starbucks Sees Unanticipated Sales Dip: Starbucks shares tumbled more than 15% as Q2 comparable sales unexpectedly fell by 4%, deviating sharply from expectations of a 1.46% increase, highlighting challenges in the coffee giant's core market performance.
Bio-Techne Tops S&P 500 Gainers: Bio-Techne outperformed expectations, leading the S&P 500 gainers with a more than 16% rise after reporting Q3 net sales of $303.4 million, which exceeded the forecasted $292.3 million, reflecting strong market demand for its products.
Garmin Reports Strong Quarterly Revenue: Garmin Ltd's shares climbed more than 13% after the company reported a Q1 revenue of $1.38 billion, surpassing the consensus estimates of $1.25 billion, indicating robust growth across its diverse technology segments.
DuPont Raises Full-Year Outlook: DuPont shares increased by more than 8% following a strong Q1 performance where it reported an adjusted EPS of 79 cents, beating expectations of 65 cents, and raised its full-year adjusted EPS forecast to $3.45-$3.75, up from $3.25-$3.65.
Skyworks Solutions Projects Lower Future Earnings: Shares of Skyworks Solutions closed down more than 14% after the company forecasted a Q3 adjusted EPS of $1.21, below the consensus estimate of $1.47, signalling potential headwinds in the semiconductor industry.
Johnson & Johnson Settles Lawsuits: Johnson & Johnson's stock rose more than 4% after the company announced an $11 billion settlement of pending talc-based powder lawsuits, a figure that was less than market fears, restoring some investor confidence in the company’s legal and financial outlook.
Qualcomm Outperforms with Strong Earnings: Qualcomm shares rose after-hours by more than 4% as the chipmaker reported an adjusted EPS of $2.44 for its most recent quarter, exceeding analysts' expectations of $2.32 per share, buoyed by high demand for advanced smartphone chips.
eBay Drops on Lower Revenue Guidance: eBay's shares fell 4% after the company forecasted lower-than-expected revenue for the current quarter, ranging from $2.49 billion to $2.54 billion, against analysts' predictions of $2.56 billion. This drop reflected investor concerns over the platform's near-term growth prospects.
The mixed performance of the major US stock indices on Wednesday underscored the delicate balance markets are navigating as the Federal Reserve maintains its hawkish stance on inflation while signalling a potential pause in rate hikes. While the Dow found support from Powell's comments ruling out an imminent rate increase, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq succumbed to pressure from weak earnings in the technology sector, particularly among AI-related stocks. As investors grapple with the implications of the Fed's policy trajectory and the lingering uncertainties surrounding inflation, currency and commodity markets exhibited volatility, reflecting the ongoing shifts in market sentiment.

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