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Week in Review: Mar.18.2024 - Mar.22.2024

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March 25, 2024

Market Recap


The S&P 500 index rose to new highs last week as officials from the Federal Reserve's policy-setting committee indicated they still expect to cut rates several times this year. The market benchmark ended Friday's session at 5,234.18, up 2.3% from last Friday's close. This is the index's first weekly gain since the week that ended on March 1. It's now up 2.7% so far this month and 9.7% for the year.

The advance came as a two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting concluded with no changes to the benchmark federal funds rate but with a narrow majority of Fed officials reaffirming projections for three rate cuts this year. That gave investors a big boost of confidence, sending stocks to fresh records.

Almost all sectors in the S&P 500 rose on the week, led by communication services, which climbed 4.8%. Technology and industrials rose 2.9% each, followed by a 2.8% increase in consumer discretionary and gains in all remaining sectors except real estate, which edged down 0.4%.

In communication services, Google parent Alphabet's (GOOGL) shares rose 6.8% amid an upbeat report by Wedbush. In the report, Wedbush raised its price target on Alphabet's stock to $175 per share from $160, saying perceived structural risks to Google Search have been overstated. The firm, which maintained an outperform rating on Alphabet's stock, also said Alphabet remains a "clear" beneficiary of generative artificial intelligence.

In the technology sector, Micron Technology (MU) shares jumped 18%. Several analyst firms raised their investment ratings and price targets on the semiconductor manufacturer's stock after the company said it swung to a profit in fiscal Q2 while revenue rose year-over-year. Micron also provided fiscal Q3 guidance for adjusted EPS and revenue that topped analyst expectations.

The real estate sector's decliners included shares of Equinix (EQIX), which fell 5.8% as short-seller Hindenburg accused the company of manipulating its accounting. A representative for Equinix told MT Newswires that the company is "investigating the claims and will respond in due course."

This week, investors will be focused on a revised reading of Q4 gross domestic product, which is due Thursday, and the February personal consumption expenditures index on Friday. February new home sales are expected on Monday and February pending home sales on Thursday. Stock markets have a shortened week ahead as they are closed on Friday to observe the holiday. The close on Thursday will wrap up Q1 2024.

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