The benchmark S&P 500 and the blue-chips Dow were subdued on Friday as an in-line inflation print signaling continued moderation in price pressures helped offset an earnings gloom cast by a dour revenue forecast from Intel.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s report showed the personal consumption expenditure index – the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge -rose moderately in December
keeping the annual increase in inflation below 3% for a third-straight month that could allow the central bank to start interest rate cuts this year.
„Today’s report, is clearly market friendly even if it doesn’t suggest, at this point, that the Fed lowers rates at the March 20 meeting,“ said Quincy Krosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial.
„Unless next month’s collection of inflation-related data underscores decisively that the path towards to 2% is squarely in sight, the Fed will most likely wait until May or June to begin easing rates.“
Weighing on the tech-focused Nasdaq, Intel slumped 12.1% to a six-week low after forecasting that its first-quarter revenue could miss estimates by over $2 billion, driving losses between 1.6% and 2.2% in other chip stocks including Advanced Micro Devices, Qualcomm and Micron Technology.The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index slipped 2.4%, while the S&P 500 technology sector was the only one in the red with a 0.7% loss.This, along with Tesla’s growth warning on Wednesday, likely deepened worries over rich valuations of heavily weighted megacap companies. Five of the „Magnificent Seven“ – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon.com , Alphabet and Meta Platforms – are due to report their results next week.
Chipmaking tools maker KLA Corp also shed 4.8% following its third-quarter revenue forecast below estimates.
A recent run in chip and technology stocks helped resurrect a Wall Street rally, which had lost steam at the year’s start after bumper gains in 2023, as investors grappled with growing uncertainty over when interest-rate cuts could arrive this year.
The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high for a fifth straight session on Thursday after data reflecting strong fourth-quarter U.S. economic growth shrugged off dire predictions of a recession in the aftermath of the Fed’s rapid rate hikes.
All the three major indexes are set for their third straight week of gains, marking their 12th weekly advance out of 13.
At 9:49 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 36.03 points, or 0.09%, at 38,085.16, the S&P 500 was down 3.32 points, or 0.07%, at 4,890.84, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 32.89 points, or 0.21%, at 15,477.61.
Among others, American Express added 7.1% as the credit card firm forecast a higher-than-expected annual profit, while peer Visa declined 2.1% after the world’s largest payments processor’s tepid current-quarter revenue growth forecast eclipsed an earnings beat.
Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far, 78.2% have surpassed expectations, LSEG data showed, compared with a long-term average beat rate of 67%.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.25-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.75-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 26 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 28 new lows.