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Week in Review: Mar.4.2024 - Mar.8.2024

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March 11, 2024

Market Recap


The S&P 500 index eased 0.3% last week as investors sifted through mixed February employment numbers. The market benchmark ended the week at 5,123.69. This marks the first Friday in several weeks that the S&P 500 hasn't ended a week at a fresh record close. It reached a new intraday high on Friday at 5,189.26 before erasing gains.

A record close on Thursday came after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank was "not far" from being able to cut interest rates. While US stocks initially rose after the Friday morning release of the February jobs data, they ended lower as investors studied the jobs data more closely.

The Labor Department's monthly jobs report showed the US economy added more jobs than expected in February. However, downward revisions were made to January and December's payrolls. Also, the February unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to the highest since January 2022 and wage growth slowed.

The weekly S&P drop was due to declines in just three sectors: Consumer discretionary fell 2.6%, technology dropped 1.1% and communication services shed 0.6%. The gains in other sectors were paced by a 3.2% increase in utilities.

Tesla (TSLA) shares led the drop in consumer discretionary. The electric vehicle company's shares tumbled 13% amid a reported 19% year-over-year drop in February vehicle sales in China. Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their price target on the stock and warned clients that Tesla's exposure to decelerating demand for electric vehicles may eat into 2024 earnings and sharply reduce free cash flow.

In the technology sector, Apple (AAPL) shares fell 5% this week as Counterpoint research showed iPhone sales declined by double-digits in the key Chinese market through the first six weeks of 2024 as the company underperformed key competitors.

Gainers in utilities included shares of Dominion Energy (D), which rose 7.2% this week as the provider of electricity and natural gas provider closed on the sale of its East Ohio Gas utility to Enbridge (ENB) for $6.6 billion, including debt.

This week, economic data will include key inflation readings: the February consumer price index on Tuesday and the February producer price index on Thursday.

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