S&P 500 closes little changed Monday as traders await Fed policy meeting: Live updates

Bernstein initiates Arm as underperform Monday. Here's what the pros are saying
Bernstein initiates Arm as underperform Monday. Here's what the pros are saying

Stocks closed near the flat line Monday as investors geared up for the Federal Reserve's meeting scheduled for later in the week.

The S&P 500 inched higher by 0.07% to 4,453.53, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.01% to finish at 13,710.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 6.06 points, or 0.02%, to end at 34,624.30.


The Fed's two-day policy meeting begins Tuesday. Traders are assigning a 99% chance that the central bank stays put when it releases its rate decision on Wednesday, according to the CME Group's FedWatch tool, which gauges pricing in the fed funds futures market. The central bank will also release its market forecasts on Wednesday.

There's less agreement about what the Fed will do in November, with the market expecting an approximately 31% probability of a hike. Goldman Sachs' economists said over the weekend that an increase in November would be unlikely.

"There are some question marks: Everyone knows that they're going to stay put for this meeting, but then what is their messaging going to be going forward?," said Stephanie Lang, CIO at Homrich Berg. "It's a wait-and-see moment to see what kind of forward guidance we're getting from the Fed."

Apple climbed 1.7%. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley both gave optimistic outlooks for new iPhone demand.

Meanwhile, Ford slid more than 2% as the United Auto Workers' strike continued. Stellantis and General Motors, the other automakers facing off with the union, each shed more than 1%.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both ended the previous trading week down, marking their second straight week of losses. The Dow finished the week 0.1% higher. 

Stocks finish Monday near flat

The three major indexes ended Monday's session with muted moves.

The Dow and Nasdaq Composite finished around flat, while the S&P 500 added about 0.1%.

— Alex Harring

Deutsche Bank upgrades Iridium

Deutsche Bank thinks a selloff in Iridium stock presents investors with a strong entry point.

The firm upgraded the satellite communications stock to buy from hold in a Monday note. Analyst Edison Yu attributed the roughly 21% decline the stock since reporting second-quarter earnings in July to a later-than-expected direct to device opportunity from management.

"While usage could indeed be low at the onset, we think smartphone OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] remain very committed to deploying satellite connectivity features over the next year," Yu said. "This should benefit Iridium as it receives a per device royalty regardless of end-user utilization."

— Brian Evans

'Strikes and hikes' occupy investors' thoughts, investment strategist says

What's on investors minds? "Strikes and hikes," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

Stovall told CNBC that investors will be watching the Federal Reserve meeting this week, as well as central bank activity from around the globe, including in countries such as Japan, Switzerland and Sweden.

"Globally, investors are on edge waiting to find out what their central banks are likely to do," he said.

Within the U.S., Stovall said the United Auto Workers strike that began last week has raised questions about potential inflationary pressures. Ford was down more than 2% on Monday, while General Motors and Stellantis each slid more than 1%.

He noted that the autoworker strike builds on a broader theme of work stoppages in the country.

— Alex Harring

Utilities are looking good into year-end, says Morgan Stanley. How to play it

It's been an ugly 2023 for utility stocks – a favorite of income investors for their solid dividends – but there could be upside as the year winds down, Morgan Stanley said.

The utilities sector is down nearly 9% this year, but it has enjoyed a nice boost in September – where it's up close to 3%.

Morgan Stanley noted that a few catalysts can help lift shares higher into the end of the year, including key regulatory approvals for a handful of names.

"As we head into the final stretch to the end of the year, we think investors will be particularly careful in picking their spots, watching for downside tail risk and focusing on clear and meaningful catalysts to drive performance," analyst David Arcaro said in a recent note.

Read about three of the firm's utilities picks here.

Darla Mercado

Simply Good Foods rises 3% following bullish Morgan Stanley call

Shares of Simply Good Foods rose more than 3% after Morgan Stanley said shifting consumer preferences to healthier choices could give the company an edge over peers.

The firm upgraded the stock of the food and beverage company to an overweight rating from equal-weight in a Monday note.

"SMPL is well positioned given its portfolio of high protein, low carb and low sugar snacks, spanning multiple categories," analyst Pamela Kaufman wrote. "SMPL's solid topline growth outlook is an increasingly scarce asset in a group that is facing slowing topline growth and should support its valuation premium."

CNBC Pro subscribers can click here to read more.

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Simply Good Foods daily trading chart

— Lisa Kailai Han

Shares of Seabridge Gold can rally more than 120%, says RBC Capital Markets

RBC analyst Michael Siperco initiated coverage of Seabridge Gold on Monday with a $25 price target, suggesting shares could rally 124.4% from Friday's close.

The firm noted that Seabridge has begun to accelerate development of its Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell gold/copper project in the 'Golden Triangle' region of northern British Columbia. The Canada-based company's KSM project is the world's largest undeveloped gold project as measured by reserves and resources, according to the company.

"We think generational gold/copper assets in good mining jurisdictions are hard to find, and harder to advance, making KSM a potentially attractive option for producers looking for long-term, consistent production potential," Siperco wrote in a note. At full production, RBC said that KSM would be a top-five annual gold producer.

— Pia Singh

Oil services, energy, utilities huge outperformers in September

Oil service, energy and utility stocks are huge outperformers so far in September, and the gains for oil services and energy in the third quarter are even more dramatic.

Month to date, oil service stocks (as reflected in the VanEck Oil Services ETF [OIH]) are up 5.2%, S&P 500 Energy by 4.2% and even S&P 500 Utilities by 3%. The S&P 500 is down 1.1% in September.

Quarter to date shows an even wider disparity: Oil services are up 24.7%, Energy is up 13.2%, the S&P 500 is higher by less than 0.2% and utilities are down 1.7%.

Energy was the best performing S&P 500 sector in Monday's session with a 0.7% gain.

P.S. Don't look now, but Nvidia is almost 11% lower in September and Taiwan Semiconductor is down 12% in the third quarter.

— Scott Schnipper

Raymond James upgrades Disney, highlights transition to streaming

Raymond James thinks Disney can outperform peers as legacy media transitions toward streaming.

The firm initiated coverage of Disney with an outperform rating in a Sunday note.

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Disney stock.

"Media companies are grappling with the transition from the profitable but declining Linear TV to the mostly unprofitable (as of now) but growing Streaming business," analyst Ric Pretiss says. "We believe Disney's assets position it well to navigate this transition."

CNBC Pro subscribers can read the full story here.

— Brian Evans

Stocks are little changed entering final hour

The three major indexes were little changed as the final hour of trading kicked off, marking some cooling for earlier climbs.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all traded within 0.1% of their flatlines at 3 p.m. ET. At session highs, the three all traded up more than 0.3%.

— Alex Harring

Deutsche Bank upgrades Micron Technology

Deutsche Bank says Micron stock will grow thanks to stronger pricing power.

The firm upgraded Micron to buy from hold in a Sunday note, and added that the company could outperform Wall Street estimates heading into 2024.

"While we acknowledge that MU shares have held up much better than our expectation during the downcycle, we expect further appreciation as estimates increase and valuation multiple (based on [price-to-book]) expands," analyst Sidney Ho said.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read the full story here.

— Brian Evans

Weak volumes for the SPY and QQQ

The Invesco QQQ ETF, which tracks the Nasdaq 100 Index, has been trading at a remarkable 'first day of the week strength' streak, according to BTIG. The firm found that the QQQ is currently on its 12th consecutive positive first day of the week. However, it noted that the ETF's 'strength' today is "tepid at best."

"Overall breadth [is] still negative and 64% of NYSE volume [is] in declining stocks," chief market technician Jonathan Krinsky said in a Monday note.

"QQQ and SPY volumes are running ~20% below average," Krinsky added.

— Hakyung Kim

Ralph Lauren's strong balance sheet and attractive price make for a promising outlook, Guggenheim says

An attractive valuation, strong balance sheet and brand growth spell a bright future ahead for Ralph Lauren