US STOCKS-Nasdaq leads Wall St higher as Microsoft hits record high
- United States
The Nasdaq led gains among the main U.S. stock indexes on Monday as Microsoft climbed on news that former OpenAI head Sam Altman will join the software giant, while investors awaited more clues on when the Federal Reserve might begin cutting interest rates. Microsoft's shares advanced 1.4%, notching a record high after CEO Satya Nadella said Altman is set to join the company to lead a new advanced AI research team.
The information technology sub-index housing the stock was among top sectoral gainers, up 0.7%. Other megacap stocks were mixed, with Amazon.com edging 0.7% higher, while Alphabet slipped 0.4%.
The three main U.S. stock indexes have staged a stellar rebound in November, posting gains for the third week in a row on Friday as evidence of easing U.S. inflation supported bets that the Fed was done raising interest rates. The benchmark S&P 500 is now only about 2% away from its highest level this year reached in July.
"(The rally) is well overdone because we had a very swift move on the idea that they (the Fed) are going to cut interest rates," said Ken Polcari, managing partner at Kace Capital Advisors. "You'll see some consolidation in the market over the next couple of weeks before we get that typical year end seasonal Santa rally."
Traders have nearly fully priced in the likelihood that the Fed will keep interest rates unchanged in December, and have started pricing in rate cuts as soon as March, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool. A number of catalysts will set the tone for equities this week, with thin trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday also affecting market moves.
Chip designer Nvidia is due to report quarterly results on Tuesday, wrapping up the third-quarter earnings season for the "Magnificent Seven" group of megacap companies. The Fed is expected to issue minutes of its November meeting on Tuesday, which will be parsed for clues on the direction of U.S. interest rates. Black Friday sales will provide a gauge on the state of U.S. consumer spending.
At 9:43 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 39.98 points, or 0.11%, at 34,987.26, the S&P 500 was up 9.06 points, or 0.20%, at 4,523.08, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 66.94 points, or 0.47%, at 14,192.42. Among other movers,
Bristol Myers Squibb fell 2.2% as Germany's Bayer on Sunday stopped a late-stage trial testing a new anti-clotting drug, hurting investor confidence in all firms developing similar class of drugs.
Equipment rental company United Rentals
shed 3.0% after a bleak profit forecast from Britain's Ashtead Group. Boeing added 2.7% as Deutsche Bank upgraded the aerospace company to "buy" from "hold" and raised its price target to $270 from $204.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.03-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.39-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 24 new lows.
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