NEW YORK, Nov 28 — Wall Street’s main indexes were subdued today after a strong run of gains in November as investors remained cautious ahead of Federal Reserve officials’ comments that could offer some clues on the interest rate path.
A rally on Wall Street in November came to a halt yesterday, with the markets taking a post-Thanksgiving pause and watching out for fresh policy cues after data signaling easing inflation bolstered hopes the Fed was likely done raising interest rates.
Still, all three major indexes were on course for monthly gains after three straight months of losses. The rebound has also brought the S&P 500 within a very close range of its 2023 intra-day high.
“The market is expecting the Fed to cut rates. The Fed has not said anything about cutting rates and I think they will reiterate that stance throughout their discussions the rest of the week,” said Paul Nolte, senior wealth adviser and market strategist at Murphy & Sylvest.
Multiple Fed policy voting members are scheduled to speak during the day, including Board Governors Christopher Waller and Michelle Bowman. Market participants will closely monitor their views as the focus shifts to the timing of a potential rate cut.
Money markets have almost fully priced in a pause in rate hikes at the December meeting, with expectations of at least a 25-basis point rate cut in May 2024 standing at nearly 50 per cent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.
Personal consumption expenditure data - the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge - and the “Beige Book”, a snapshot of the US economy, are due later this week. They will likely show how the economy is faring under tighter monetary conditions.
At 9:37 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.15 points at 35,334.62, the S&P 500 was down 6.46 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 4,543.97, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 11.87 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 14,229.15.
Ten of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were in the red, with rate-sensitive real estate stocks down 0.5 per cent and leading declines.
Murphy & Sylvest’s Nolte said investors were “digesting very, very strong gains for the month of November,” referring to the declines.
Among single stocks, Zscaler fell 3.5 per cent as the cloud security firm’s quarterly billings fell short of some analysts’ estimates, overshadowing its strong forecast and profit beat.
Micron Technology shares fell 3 per cent after the chip firm updated its first-quarter forecast.
Boeing added 0.6 per cent after RBC Capital Markets upgraded the aerospace company to “outperform” from “sector perform” and set a Street-high price target.
US-listed shares of PDD Holdings jumped 18.5 per cent after the Chinese e-commerce firm beat third-quarter revenue estimates.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.92-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.63-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 9 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 27 new highs and 39 new lows. — Reuters