The Week on Wall Street

Stocks continued their upward climb last week as excitement around big tech continued; positive economic reports stoked investors’ belief that the Federal Reserve has pulled off a soft landing.

Stocks Power Ahead

Big tech was back last week, pushing the Dow and the S&P 500 to new highs early in the week as markets resumed the late Q4 rally.

The so-called “Magnificent Seven” stocks—comprising 28% of the S&P 500 Index—resumed their pole position at the head of the pack as investors maintained their artificial intelligence (AI)-related bullishness and rewarded widespread cost-cutting at many tech giants. While the rally fizzled on Friday, the week’s gains were slow but steady.

The big economic news last week was better-than-expected economic growth and inflation news. Real Gross Domestic Product grew at a 3.3% annualized clip in Q4 2023, ahead of Wall Street consensus expectations of 2%.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Index, one of the Fed’s most favored inflation gauges, showed core inflation (excluding food and energy) cooled in December, with an annualized rate of 2.9%, beating consensus expectations. Core inflation was 3.2% on an annualized basis—its lowest level since March 2021. While the inflation update didn’t move markets much, it helped validate investors’ optimism that Fed policy has maintained economic growth while bringing inflation down.

Earnings Season Feeds FOMO

The market digested Q4 earnings news from some of the largest companies, with enthusiasm feeling like FOMO. The “fear of missing out” drove much investor sentiment and seemed to build market momentum.

While the enthusiasm for AI continues to be one driver of technology stock prices, the spotlight last week was on layoffs. Over 23,000 workers at 85 tech companies have lost their jobs this month. The market appears to be rewarding the cost-cutting measures, with many tech giants repositioning themselves with AI in mind, and some analysts inferring that this emphasis on efficiency may encourage investors.

This Week: Key Economic Data

Tuesday: FOMC Meeting. Consumer Confidence. Home Price Index.

Wednesday: FOMC Announcement/Fed Chair Press Conference.

Thursday: Jobless Claims. ISM Manufacturing Index. Fed Balance Sheet.

Friday: Employment Situation.

Source: Investors Business Daily – Econoday economic calendar; January 26, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (GOOG, GOOGL), United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), Starbucks Corporation (SBUX)

Wednesday: Mastercard Incorporated (MA), The Boeing Company (BA), Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP)

Thursday: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK)

Friday: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), Bristol Myers Squibb Company (BMY)

Source: Zacks, January 26, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.