Stock Market Today: Main indexes trim gains on Monday as investors buckle down for key data
Article Banner

Stock Market Today: Main indexes trim gains on Monday as investors buckle down for key data

  • Wall Street's main indexes see thin losses to start the week.
  • S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended last week at all-time highs.
  • Fed Chairman Powell will testify before Congress later in the week.

The S&P 500 (SPX) index fell 0.12% to close the session at 5,130.95. The Dow Jones (DJIA) dropped 0.25% to end at 38,989.83, while the Nasdaq (IXIC) lost 0.41% to finish at 16,207.51.

Stock market news

The Utilities Sector gained 1.65% on Monday, beating out the Real Estate Sector which climbed 1.07% on the day. The Communications Services Sector declined 1.51% as the biggest-losing sector on Monday, followed closely by the Consumer Discretionary Sector which fell 1.27% on the day.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) climbed 10.22% to kick off the new trading week, ending Monday at $17.15 per share. Tesla Inc. (TSLA) was the market's loss leader on Monday, shedding 7.15% and wrapping up at $188.14 at the closing bell.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed the previous week virtually unchanged at 39,087.39, the S&P 500 (SPX) rose nearly 1% to close at a new all-time high of 5,137.07 and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) added over 1% to end at a record of 16,274.94.

Assessing the latest developments in equity markets, “the S&P 500 gained +0.95% last week (and +0.80% on Friday), meaning the index has now recorded positive weekly gains for 16 out of the last 18 weeks, the first time since 1971,” noted Jim Reid, global head of economics and thematic research at Deutsche Bank, and continued:

“Talking of milestones, the Russell 2000 reached its highest level since April 2022, jumping +2.96% on the week (and +1.05% on Friday), so the rally was fairly broad. But it was tech stocks that led Friday’s sizeable rally, with the Magnificent 7 up +1.27% (+1.74% over the week). A strong earnings beat by Dell Technologies (+31.62% Friday) lifted semiconductor stocks (+4.29%) and saw Nvidia (+4.00%) move above $2trn market cap for the first time.”

S&P 500 FAQs

What is the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 is a widely followed stock price index which measures the performance of 500 publicly owned companies, and is seen as a broad measure of the US stock market. Each company’s influence on the computation of the index is weighted based on market capitalization. This is calculated by multiplying the number of publicly traded shares of the company by the share price. The S&P 500 index has achieved impressive returns – $1.00 invested in 1970 would have yielded a return of almost $192.00 in 2022. The average annual return since its inception in 1957 has been 11.9%.

How are companies chosen to be included in the S&P 500?

Companies are selected by committee, unlike some other indexes where they are included based on set rules. Still, they must meet certain eligibility criteria, the most important of which is market capitalization, which must be greater than or equal to $12.7 billion. Other criteria include liquidity, domicile, public float, sector, financial viability, length of time publicly traded, and representation of the industries in the economy of the United States. The nine largest companies in the index account for 27.8% of the market capitalization of the index.

How can I trade the S&P 500?

There are a number of ways to trade the S&P 500. Most retail brokers and spread betting platforms allow traders to use Contracts for Difference (CFD) to place bets on the direction of the price. In addition, that can buy into Index, Mutual and Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) that track the price of the S&P 500. The most liquid of the ETFs is State Street Corporation’s SPY. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) offers futures contracts in the index and the Chicago Board of Options (CMOE) offers options as well as ETFs, inverse ETFs and leveraged ETFs.

What factors drive the S&P 500?

Many different factors drive the S&P 500 but mainly it is the aggregate performance of the component companies revealed in their quarterly and annual company earnings reports. US and global macroeconomic data also contributes as it impacts on investor sentiment, which if positive drives gains. The level of interest rates, set by the Federal Reserve (Fed), also influences the S&P 500 as it affects the cost of credit, on which many corporations are heavily reliant. Therefore, inflation can be a major driver as well as other metrics which impact the Fed decisions.

Eyes on Powell testimony and US jobs data

In its Semi-annual Monetary Policy Report published on Friday, the Federal Reserve (Fed) reiterated that it’s not appropriate to reduce the policy rate until they have greater confidence inflation will move sustainably toward 2%.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will present the monetary policy report and respond to questions in a two-day testimony before the Congress, starting Wednesday.

On Friday, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics will release February jobs report, which will include Nonfarm Payrolls, the Unemployment Rate and wage inflation figures.

Week’s focus on Powell testimony, US jobs, ECB decision [Video]

US Interest rates FAQs

What are interest rates?

Interest rates are charged by financial institutions on loans to borrowers and are paid as interest to savers and depositors. They are influenced by base lending rates, which are set by central banks in response to changes in the economy. Central banks normally have a mandate to ensure price stability, which in most cases means targeting a core inflation rate of around 2%.
If inflation falls below target the central bank may cut base lending rates, with a view to stimulating lending and boosting the economy. If inflation rises substantially above 2% it normally results in the central bank raising base lending rates in an attempt to lower inflation.

How do interest rates impact currencies?

Higher interest rates generally help strengthen a country’s currency as they make it a more attractive place for global investors to park their money.

How do interest rates influence the price of Gold?

Higher interest rates overall weigh on the price of Gold because they increase the opportunity cost of holding Gold instead of investing in an interest-bearing asset or placing cash in the bank.
If interest rates are high that usually pushes up the price of the US Dollar (USD), and since Gold is priced in Dollars, this has the effect of lowering the price of Gold.

What is the Fed Funds rate?

The Fed funds rate is the overnight rate at which US banks lend to each other. It is the oft-quoted headline rate set by the Federal Reserve at its FOMC meetings. It is set as a range, for example 4.75%-5.00%, though the upper limit (in that case 5.00%) is the quoted figure.
Market expectations for future Fed funds rate are tracked by the CME FedWatch tool, which shapes how many financial markets behave in anticipation of future Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions.