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Stock Market Today: Dow ends lower as investors await key inflation data

Published 26/02/2024, 00:06
Updated 26/02/2024, 21:06
© Reuters.

Investing.com - The Dow closed lower Monday as investors mulled ongoing quarterly earnings from corporate America and awaited further catalysts including the release of key inflation data later this week.

By 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 66 points, or 0.2%, the S&P 500 fell 0.4% and NASDAQ Composite slipped 0.1%.

Domino's Pizza, Freshpet deliver impressive earnings; Berkshire Hathaway report record profit   

Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) stock soared over 5% after reporting quarterly results that topped Wall Street even as inflation weighed on margins. The pizza chain hiked its dividend and gave the green light to further share repurchases.

Freshpet Inc (NASDAQ:FRPT) stock soared nearly 19% after the pet-food manufacturer’s fourth-quarter revenue and profit topped analyst estimates, helped by a rise in sales as it boosts media spending.

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) fell 1.7%  despite Warren Buffett's conglomerate posting its second straight record annual profit, bringing it closer to a $1 trillion market value.

Retail earnings on tap for more spending cues 

With the fourth quarter earnings season now coming to a close, earnings reports from a string of major retailers are on tap this week. 

Lowe’s Companies (NYSE:LOW), Macy’s (NYSE:M), TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) will release their quarterly readouts through the week, with any signs of a spending slowdown squarely in focus. 

The slew of retail earnings will offer clues into the strength of the consumer at a time when many are concerns about the impact of sticky inflation and higher for longer interest rates.

Inflation, GDP data awaited 

However, a string of signals from the Federal Reserve last week showing that the central bank was in no hurry to begin trimming interest rates in the near-term limited the gains. 

Anticipation of more key inflation readings this week, specifically the PCE price index, which is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, is keeping traders on edge at the start of the new week. 

Investors were seen largely pricing out the prospect of May and June rate cuts by the Fed, amid increasing signs that inflation remained sticky. 

Beyond the PCE data, focus is also on a second reading of fourth-quarter gross domestic product data, which is due on Wednesday. The while U.S. economic growth has remained resilient in comparison to other developed countries, it has also cooled in recent quarters. 

Alcoa falls on $2.2B offer for Alumina; Ford suffers F-150 setback

Elsewhere, Alcoa (NYSE:AA) stock fell over 4% after the alumina producer made a $2.2 billion offer for Australian peer and joint venture partner Alumina (ASX:AWC).

Ford (NYSE:F) fell 1% despite the auto giant confirming it had halted shipments of all of its 2024 model year F-150 Lightning trucks, citing quality checks for an unspecified issue.

Crypto-related stock hitch ride on bitcoin rally

Cryptocurrency-related stocks including Coinbase Global Inc (NASDAQ:COIN), Marathon Digital Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:MARA), and Riot Platforms (NASDAQ:RIOT) were in rally mode, underpinned by more than 4% rise in Bitcoin (BitfinexUSD) above $54,000.

The latest rally comes amid ongoing demand for the Bitcoin-spot ETF, which was approved last month, and the upcoming halving event set to get underway in the summer.  

(Peter Nurse, Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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