Stocks waver as Wall Street rally loses steam

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Stocks gave up earlier session gains as cautious investors assessed signs the roaring November rally could be overdone.

By late afternoon trading, both the benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) hugged the flatline while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) gained just about 0.1% after a downbeat close to start the week.

With the end of November in sight, investors are weighing whether a pullback is coming after a red-hot surge put stocks on course for their best monthly performance in more than a year.

The bullish sentiment comes as investors place bets the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates — although two separate speeches from Fed Governor Michelle Bowman and Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Tuesday signaled the central bank has differing opinions on whether interest rates need to go higher.

As Yahoo Finance’s Jennifer Schonberger reports, Bowman said she thinks the Fed will have to raise rates further to bring inflation down “to our 2% target in a timely way.”

But Waller said he is becoming more confident rates are at the right levels even though he needs more data to be sure. Treasury yields fell on his comments with the 10-year yield (^TNX) dropping about 4 basis points to trade near 4.35%.

Investors may well be treading carefully ahead of two key batches of economic data due later this week. Wednesday brings an update on GDP in the third quarter, while Thursday’s PCE reading on consumer inflation — the Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge — will set expectations for policymakers’ next rate move.

New data out from The Conference Board on Tuesday showed consumer confidence increased in November. The Conference Board’s index jumped to 102.0 in November, up from a downwardly revised 99.1 in October.

Despite the improvement, however, the Expectations Index remained below 80 for a third consecutive month — a level that historically signals a recession within the next year, according to the Conference Board.

Read more: What the Fed rate-hike pause means for bank accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards

Meanwhile, investors are paying keen attention to how retailers are faring now that Black Friday has kicked off the holiday shopping season.

On Cyber Monday, consumers spent $12.4 billion online, up 9.6% compared to last year, per Adobe Analytics’ data on e-commerce. As people looked to cash in last-minute deals between 10 and 11 p.m. Eastern, $15.7 million was spent every minute.

In commodities, oil prices gained as the dollar weakened — pulling down prices for holders of other currencies — and expectations grew for more output cuts at this week’s delayed OPEC+ meeting. Brent crude futures (BZ=F) traded below $81 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were above $76.

  • Stocks wobble in late trading

    Stocks gave up earlier session gains as cautious investors put a pause on the November rally.

    By late afternoon trading, both the benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) hugged the flatline while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) gained just about 0.1% after a downbeat close to start the week.

  • Home prices still soaring

    Home prices are continuing to hit record highs, despite an uptick in mortgage rates

    As Yahoo Finance’s Rebecca Chen reports:

    The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index increased 0.7% in September from August on a seasonally adjusted basis, marking the eighth straight month of growth and an all-time high for the index. Home values were also up 3.9% over the last 12 months, according to the latest data released Tuesday, besting the 2.5% annual gain logged in August.

    The index tracking home sales prices in the 20 largest US cities gained 0.7% in September from August, just missing the 0.8% increase that economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting. The index rose 3.9% compared to last September, in line with the Bloomberg forecast.

    The resilience of home prices underscores how much low inventory is driving the housing market, even as rising mortgage prices worsen affordability and scare off some buyers.

    “We’ve commented before on the breadth of the housing market’s strength, which continued to be impressive,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI, in a press statement. “Although this year’s increase in mortgage rates has surely suppressed the quantity of homes sold, the relative shortage of inventory for sale has been a solid support for prices.”

    “Unless higher rates or exogenous events lead to general economic weakness, the breadth and strength of this month’s report are consistent with an optimistic view of future results,” he added.

    Read more here.

  • Stocks trending in afternoon trading

    Here are some of the stocks leading Yahoo Finance’s trending tickers page during afternoon trading on Tuesday:

    PDD Holdings (PDD): The Chinese e-commerce platform, which owns apps Pinduoduo and Temu, soared 18% in afternoon trading after it easily beat Wall Street targets for quarterly revenue. Sales climbed 94% in local currency while earnings increased 35% compared to the year-ago period.

    Gamestop (GME): The meme darling was one of the biggest Dow gainers on Tuesday, soaring about 12% after the retailer slashed prices for Cyber Monday and Black Friday. On Cyber Monday, consumers spent $12.4 billion online, up 9.6% compared to last year, per Adobe Analytics’ data on e-commerce. Payment stocks like PayPal (PYPL) and Block (SQ) also moved higher on the heels of the record-breaking shopping event.

    Zscaler (ZS): Shares of the cloud security group drifted below the flatline despite the company reporting first-quarter earnings that topped estimates. Investors reacted to Zscaler’s muted sales forecast. The company expects full-year billings to come between $2.52 billion and $2.56 billion, which would represent a year-over-year growth rate of about 24% to 26% — below Wall Street estimates.

  • Stocks edge higher

    Stocks ticked slightly higher in early afternoon trading on Tuesday as the recent Wall Street rally looks to bounce back.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) gained about 0.4% while both the benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) moved roughy 0.2% higher.

    Oil prices gained as the dollar weakened with Brent crude (BZ=F) trading above $82 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were above $76.

    Treasury yields, meanwhile, fell after Fed Governor Christopher Waller said he is becoming more confident rates are at the right levels even though he needs more data to be sure. The 10-year yield (^TNX) dropped about 5 basis points to trade near 4.34%.

  • IPO rumblings suggest investors could be feeling risky again

    Could the IPO market return to its former glory in 2024?

    As Yahoo Finance’s Josh Schafer reports:

    Fast-fashion retailer Shein has confidentially filed for an initial public offering in the US, according to multiple press reports Tuesday. This comes as social media website Reddit and Kim Kardashian’s clothing brand Skims are also exploring options to go public in 2024, according to Bloomberg.

    The latest developments hint at a larger theme: 2024 could be the year the IPO market makes a meaningful comeback.

    “We’re more optimistic about the real reopening of the IPO market in 2024 than in 2023,” Goldman Sachs asset management global co-head of private equity Michael Bruun said during a media roundtable on Nov. 7.

    Many had thought recent public debuts like chip giant Arm (ARM) and Instacart (CART) would bring the return of IPOs earlier this year. Data from Dealogic showed 35 deals were completed in the third quarter, down from the 95 deals seen during the same quarter in 2021 (The market bottomed in 2022).

    Read more here.

  • Cyber Monday hits new record

    US consumers spent billions to kick-start the holiday shopping season, setting a new spending record.

    As Yahoo Finance’s Brooke DiPalma reports:

    On Cyber Monday, consumers spent $12.4 billion online, up 9.6% compared to last year, per Adobe Analytics’ data on e-commerce. As people looked to cash in last-minute deals between 10 and 11 p.m. Eastern, $15.7 million was spent every minute.

    This comes after Black Friday brought in a record-breaking $9.8 billion, up 7.5% compared to a year ago, while the following weekend saw $10.3 billion spent.

    The total for Cyber Week — the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday — amounted to $38 billion, up 7.8% year over year. Retailers’ plans to push harder on discounting may have worked, after consumers buckled down on spending amid rising interest rates, dwindling savings, the return of student loan payments, and credit card debt.

    “Prices are coming down and then we see discounts on top of that,” Patrick Brown, Adobe VP of Growth & Insights, said on Yahoo Finance Live. These two factors combined to create “a huge increase in demand.”

    “Consumers are feeling like they’ve gotten a better deal,” he said.

    Discretionary categories, many of which were affected by the slowdown in spending, got the biggest boost on Monday. They include apparel, which saw a 189% jump in online sales compared to October 2023, followed by appliances, toys, furniture, electronics, jewelry, and sporting goods.

    Read more here.

  • Consumer confidence ticks higher in November

    New data out from The Conference Board on Tuesday showed consumer confidence increased in November.

    The Conference Board’s index jumped to 102.0 in November, up from a downwardly revised 99.1 in October. Average 12-month inflation expectations retreated back to 5.7% after a one-month uptick to 5.9%.

    “Consumer confidence increased in November, following three consecutive months of decline,” Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board, said in a news release. “This improvement reflected a recovery in the ‘Expectations Index,’ while the ‘Present Situation Index’ was largely unchanged.”

    Despite the improvement, however, the ‘Expectations Index’ remained below 80 for a third consecutive month — a level that historically signals a recession within the next year.

    Although consumer fears of an impending recession retreated slightly, hitting the lowest levels seen this year, two-thirds of consumers surveyed in November still believe a recession to be “somewhat” or “very likely” to occur over the next 12 months, according to The Conference Board.

  • Stocks hug flatline

    Stocks opened flat on Tuesday as the November rally appears to be running out of stream.

    The benchmark S&P 500 (^GSPC) dipped around 0.1% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) both hugged the flatline after a downbeat close to start the week.

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