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Wall Street Closes with Mixed Signals Amid Speculation of Fed Rate Cut Triggered by Employment Data

Tuesday’s Wall Street close presented a mixed picture as fresh employment figures fueled speculation of a looming interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, possibly as early as March.

Leading the charge were the tech giants, with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) surging over 2%, while Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) made gains exceeding 1%. This upward momentum coincided with a drop in Treasury yields to multi-month lows.

Despite these gains among the top-valued companies, most S&P 500 sector indexes saw a downturn. This trend followed reports indicating a decline in U.S. job openings for October, marking the lowest level since early 2021 and signaling a gradual easing in the labor market. However, a separate report indicated a positive uptick in U.S. services sector activity for November.

The session’s close reflected these fluctuations: the S&P 500 ended with a slight decline of 0.06% at 4,567.18 points. In contrast, the Nasdaq rose by 0.31% to reach 14,229.91 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced a dip of 0.22% to land at 36,124.56 points.

Interestingly, the small-cap Russell 2000 index broke a four-day winning streak, falling by 1.4%.

Market activity on U.S. exchanges showed increased volume, with 11.9 billion shares traded, surpassing the average of 10.6 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

Of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes, eight experienced declines, notably in the energy sector, which saw a 1.7% drop, followed by a 1.37% loss in materials.

This week’s stock trading displayed volatility after the S&P 500’s impressive 9% surge in November. The index reached a four-month intra-day high last Friday.

Market sentiment leans toward the expectation that the Fed will maintain current rates during its upcoming meeting. However, interest rate futures indicate a 65% probability of a rate cut by the Fed’s March meeting, according to the CME Group’s (NASDAQ:CME) FedWatch tool.

Greater insight into the labor market’s status is anticipated with the release of the comprehensive non-farm payrolls report for November on Friday. This report is expected to provide clarity on the current employment landscape.

Dow ends lower, but tech strength keeps lid on losses

The Dow closed lower Tuesday, but downside momentum was curbed by rising tech stocks as Treasury yields fell after data showed labor demand fell to a two-year low.

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 79 points, or 0.2%, the S&P 500 was flat, while the NASDAQ Composite was 0.3% higher.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), up 2%, taking its value back above $3 trillion after Bank of America, citing data from SensorTower, said Apple App store revenue rose 11% during in the current quarter so far.

But UBS said that while the double digital growth was encouraging, the absolute dollars spent in the App Store “have largely been flattish month-over-month dating back to December 2022.”

The move higher in Apple took its market cap back above $3 trillion mark.

As well as rise in Apple, tech was also supported by fall in Treasury yields amid a rising odds of Fed March rate cut.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped 12 basis points to 4.169%.

Labor demand slows to boost rate cut bets; services activity improves

The JOLTS report showed job openings in the world’s largest economy slipped to 8.7 million on the final day of October, down from 9.553 million on the last day of the prior month, and the lowest level in two-years.

The softer demand for labor, pushed the odds of a March rate cut to 56%, up form 35% last week, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.

U.S. services sector activity, meanwhile, surprised to the upside last month, rising to a reading of 52.7 in November, from 51.8 the prior month.

Take-Two falls on GTA disappointment; CVS rises on guidance; Take-Two Interactive

Software (NASDAQ:TTWO) stock fell 0.5% after a trailer of the latest installment of its best-selling “Grand Theft Auto” videogame franchise was released, implying the game was arriving in 2025, later than previously expected.

CVS Health (NYSE:CVS) stock rose 3.7% after the health conglomerate forecast 2024 revenue above expectations, and detailed plans to simply its pricing on prescription drugs. The company also hiked its quarterly dividend by nearly 10%.

Procter & Gamble falls on $2B impairment charges

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) stock fell 3.5% after the consumer goods giant said it would record up to $2.5 billion in charges over two fiscal years related to writing down the value of its Gillette business and the restructuring of certain markets.

Gitlab shines on earnings stage

Gitlab (NASDAQ:GTLB) stock soared 11% after the open-source software development platform impressed with its third-quarter results, while issuing strong guidance for the current quarter.

Bitcoin remains in spotlight after briefly topping $44,000

Bitcoin (BitfinexUSD) rose more than 4% after briefly rallying to $44,000, pushing most cryptocurrency-related stocks including Marathon Digital Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:MARA) and Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:RIOT).

Source: Investing.com

Smithfield’s Hog Farm Cuts Hit Utah as Pork Oversupply Takes Center Stage

In a dramatic turn of events, Smithfield Foods, the pork giant, has decided to part ways with 26 hog farms nestled in the scenic lands of Utah. This latest act in their downsizing saga is their response to a surplus saturating the pork industry.

Pigs are at rock-bottom prices while the appetite for pork is running dry. Add to that the rising costs of labor and operations, and you’ve got a porky predicament on your hands.

Under the baton of Hong Kong’s WH Group (OTC:WHGLY), Smithfield is now planning a swan song for employees entangled in their dealings with these hog-raising farms. Around 70 workers, potentially a third of the current 210-strong workforce in Smithfield’s Utah hog production, might be getting an unexpected intermission due to this decision.

This Utah showstopper follows Smithfield’s previous blockbuster in October: shutting down a pork processing plant in Charlotte, North Carolina. Before that, they had scripted the permanent closure of 35 hog farm venues in Missouri, cueing in staff layoffs.

Smithfield’s calling this act of cutting back a necessity for surviving the industry’s performance. The company’s symphony of challenges—ranging from an “industry surplus of pork” to “weaker consumer demand” and the classic “high feed prices”—has pushed them to change the tune. Interestingly, the corn used for livestock feed hit its lowest note in nearly three years last month.

But Smithfield isn’t the only performer struggling in this meaty opera. Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN), the heavyweight champion of the U.S. meat realm, has also faced its share of show cancellations. Tyson shut down several U.S. chicken plants, leaving thousands without a role to play. Last month, they even had to close down two more plants where hundreds were engaged in the art of meat cutting and packaging.

Seems like the meat industry is facing quite the drama with its supply and demand plot twists!

Ah, midweek investing—the thrill of breaking up the monotony with a dash of financial flair! While some might be slogging through hump day, you’re out there, charting a course through the market’s peaks and valleys like a financial trailblazer. It’s the perfect time to inject a bit of excitement into your week, a midweek rendezvous with potential profits that could make Friday jealous. So, while others are counting down to the weekend, you’re counting up your gains, turning Wednesday into “Win-sday.”