Dow closes 500 points lower, its 4th straight losing session and worst day since March 2023: Live updates

Pia Singh
Hakyung Kim
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during afternoon trading on March 27, 2024.

Stocks tumbled on Thursday in a bout of volatile trading ahead of the March jobs report. A spike in oil prices and fears the Federal Reserve could hold off on interest rate cuts also dented investors' sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 530.16 points, or 1.35%, to close at 38,596.98. The 30-stock Dow suffered its worst session since March 2023, and it logged its fourth consecutive losing day. The S&P 500 dropped 1.23% to end at 5,147.21. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.40% to close at 16,049.08.

The three major averages took a sharp downturn late in the session, falling more than 2% off their intraday highs. Between its highs and lows of the day, the Dow swung more than 860 points.

Crude oil jumped midday, which coincided with the rollover in stocks Thursday. WTI oil topped $86 a barrel to reach its highest level since October, raising concerns about energy prices helping to reaccelerate inflation.

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari also commented Thursday afternoon that he wondered if the central bank should cut rates at all if inflation remained sticky, adding to a recent chorus of Fed speakers talking conservatively about policy. The 10-year Treasury yield rose off the lows of the session on the Kashkari's comments. It was last trading at 4.305%. The benchmark Treasury yield had briefly touched 4.429% on Wednesday, a new high for the year.

"Investors right now are sort of taking a wait-and-see attitude," said Sam Stovall, CFRA Research chief investment strategist. "The 10-year yield is the key driving force because of the concern of the Fed implying that they're in no hurry to cut rates, and therefore confirming the adage that the Fed will be slower to lower interest rates."

The market remains expensive, given that the S&P 500 is trading at a 33% premium to its long-term average, Stovall added.

"I find that to be a bit disconcerting," he said. "I think it's just a matter of time, before we end up digesting some of these gains."

See Chart...
Dow, 1-day

So far this week, the S&P 500 is down 2%, with three out of four days in the red. The 30-stock Dow has lost roughly 3% week to date, while the Nasdaq has dipped 2% through Thursday's close.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday maintained that while there is still room for interest rate cuts this year, policymakers will need more proof that inflation is moving toward the central bank's 2% guideline before rates can come down.

The key March nonfarm payrolls report is due on Friday. The consensus expectation calls for a 200,000 rise in payrolls with an unemployment rate of 3.8%. In February, U.S. job growth totaled 275,000 while the unemployment rate rose to 3.9%. A too-hot jobs report could further boost yields and keep pressure on the Fed to maintain higher rates.

Thu, Apr 4 2024 4:04 PM EDT

Stocks close lower, Dow notches fourth day in the red

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Thursday down 530.16 points, or 1.35%, marking its fourth day of losses. The S&P 500 closed 1.23% lower, and the Nasdaq Composite finished the day down 1.4%.

All three indexes are on track to end the week with losses.

— Pia Singh

Thu, Apr 4 2024 3:26 PM EDT

U.S. crude oil cracks $86 as tensions mount between Israel and Iran

Storage tanks are seen at Marathon Petroleum's Los Angeles Refinery, which processes domestic & imported crude oil into California Air Resources Board (CARB) gasoline, CARB diesel fuel, and other petroleum products, in Carson, California, U.S., March 11, 2022. Picture taken with a drone.

Crude oil futures rose Thursday, recouping losses from earlier in the session as tensions in the Middle East continue to mount.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for May delivery gained $1.16, or 1.36%, to settle at $86.59 a barrel. The Brent contract for June delivery advanced $1.30, or 1.45%, to $90.65 a barrel. It was the highest settle for both since Oct. 20.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli embassies had been put on high alert after Iran vowed retaliation over a missile strike on its consulate in Damascus earlier this week. Israel Defense Forces have cancelled home leave for combat troops amid mounting tensions with Tehran, according to the Times of Israel.

Oil prices have rallied this year, booking three consecutive months of gains with U.S. crude adding nearly 21% while Brent is up 7.7%. The rally has been driven by mounting geopolitical tensions and a tightening global crude market.

— Spencer Kimball

Thu, Apr 4 2024 3:54 PM EDT

Analysts react to Disney staving off activist investors

Wall Street followed Wednesday's news that Disney fended off activist investor Nelson Peltz's Trian Partners. Disney's full board was reelected, a blow for the outsiders looking to shake up the media giant.

Here's how some analysts reacted to the development and what they see next for Disney:

  • Morgan Stanley's Benjamin Swinburne: "With the proxy process behind it, investors expect Disney to continue operating its businesses with a sustained sense of urgency. We believe it will, including a focus on operational excellence, financial rigor, management succession, and the implementation of a consistent long-term strategy."
  • MoffettNathanson's Michael Nathanson: "While it might have admittedly taken longer than we first expected back when we upgraded Disney to Buy on the night of CEO Bob Iger's return, we believe the company has finally focused on fixing the key challenges that we were left behind by the prior CEO including: 1) eliminating the centralized DMED structure, 2) revisiting the over-expansive Disney+ strategy, 3) reviewing the challenging business outlook for Star India and Disney+ Hotstar and 4) more aggressively managing costs in the face of linear network declines."
  • Raymond James' Ric Prentiss: "One concern we have heard from investors is that Disney may have used all of its 'firepower' in terms of positive announcements on the F1Q24 call to help sway the proxy battle, and may not have as much to tell us in the coming quarters, which we believe is a valid concern. However, we do not think DIS will be short of catalysts from here."

Disney slipped more than 3% in Wednesday's session. Still, the stock has surged more than 31% this year.

— Alex Harring

Thu, Apr 4 2024 3:25 PM EDT

Kashkari warns that rate cuts won't happen unless inflation eases further

Neel Kashkari, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York City, New York, May 22, 2023.

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari on Thursday expressed caution that interest rate cuts might not happen this year unless there's more progress on inflation.

"If we continue to see inflation moving sideways, then that would make me question whether we need to do those rate cuts at all," Kashkari said during an interview with Pensions & Investments, according to a Reuters account. "There's a lot of momentum in the economy right now."

Kashkari, a nonvoter this year on the Federal Open Market Committee, is the second central banker this week to dampen rate-cut talk. On Wednesday, Atlanta Fed President and FOMC voter Raphael Bostic said on CNBC that he envisions just one cut this year, and likely not until the fourth quarter.

—Jeff Cox

Thu, Apr 4 2024 3:06 PM EDT

Energy is the only advancer in the S&P 500

Energy was the only advancer in the S&P 500 following a late-day slump in stocks. The sector gained 0.1% as WTI oil hit its highest level since October.

At its high of the day, the broad market index had advanced by as much as 0.9%. In the two o'clock hour, the S&P 500 had slid by 0.4%.

Health care and real estate were the worst performers in the S&P 500, down by 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively. Consumer staples was the third biggest laggard, off by 0.3%

— Sarah Min

Thu, Apr 4 2024 2:55 PM EDT

Salesforce, 3M lead Dow lower

As the Dow turned negative in afternoon trading, the stocks leading it downward came from several sectors.

Salesforce and 3M were the two biggest decliners in the 30-stock average, with each down more than 2%.

American Express and Amgen each dropped about 1.5%, while Nike and McDonald's slid roughly 1.3% apiece.

— Jesse Pound

Thu, Apr 4 2024 1:16 PM EDT

Richmond Fed's Barkin advocates patience on rate cuts

Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin speaks to the Economic Club of New York in New York City on Feb. 8, 2024.

Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin added to the recent cautionary tone from monetary policymakers, saying Thursday that a strong economy gives time to watch the inflation data for progress.

"While I don't see the economy overheating, the Fed knows how to respond if it does. And, if the economy slows, the Fed has enough firepower to support it as necessary," Barkin said during a speech in his home district. "In the interim, I think it is smart for the Fed to take our time."

Noting that inflation data this year has been "a little less encouraging," he said the strong labor market and macro economy allow Fed officials "time for the clouds to clear" before cutting.

—Jeff Cox

Thu, Apr 4 2024 12:45 PM EDT

Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Lamb Weston, Levi Strauss and more

Close-up of a logo for Lamb Weston, frozen potato products company, printed on a Stealth Fries pack in Lafayette, California, January 22, 2021.

These are the stocks making the biggest moves in midday trading:

  • Lamb Weston — Shares plunged nearly 20% after the fries producer missed its third-quarter earnings and revenue.
  • Levi Strauss — The apparel company's shares rallied 16% after it topped first-quarter expectations on the top and bottom lines and raised its profit guidance for the full year.
  • Wayfair — Shares of the home-focused e-commerce retailer added more than 3% following an Evercore ISI upgrade to an outperform rating from in line.

Read the full list of stocks moving here.

— Lisa Kailai Han

Thu, Apr 4 2024 12:22 PM EDT

Solar stocks advance

Stock stocks outperformed on Thursday, offering a reprieve during what's been a tough period for the group.

The Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) climbed more than 3% in the session, while the broad S&P 500 added less than 1%. Sunnova, SolarEdge, Maxeon and Enphase led the fund higher, with each rallying more than 7%.

See Chart...
Invesco Solar ETF, 1 day

That rise provides a bright spot for the struggling sector. Despite Thursday's ascent, the index is still down more than 15% compared with the start of 2024. The S&P 500, by comparison, has added more than 10% in the same period.

— Alex Harring

Thu, Apr 4 2024 11:11 AM EDT

Nasdaq Composite turns green on week

Thursday morning's advance propelled the Nasdaq Composite into positive territory for the week.

The technology-heavy index added nearly 0.8% in morning trading, bringing its week-to-date performance to 0.1% in the green. Heading into Thursday's session, the index was down about 0.6%.

See Chart...
The Nasdaq Composite since Monday

Despite rising in Thursday's session, the Dow and S&P 500 remain lower by 1.3% and 0.2%, respectively, on the week.

— Alex Harring

Thu, Apr 4 2024 9:37 AM EDT

Stocks open higher on Thursday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 282 points, or about 0.7%. shortly after 9:30 a.m. ET. The S&P 500 opened 0.8% higher, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 1%.

— Pia Singh

Thu, Apr 4 2024 9:13 AM EDT

Stocks on track for losing week

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.

With more than half of the trading week in the rearview mirror, the three major indexes are poised to see losses.

The Dow has led the way down this week, dropping 1.7%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite have slipped 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively.

— Alex Harring

Thu, Apr 4 2024 8:42 AM EDT

Jobless claims, trade deficit both post increases

Initial filings for unemployment compensation increased more than expected last week, hitting their highest level since late January.

Jobless claims totaled 221,000 for the week ended March 30, up 9,000 from the previous week and higher than the Dow Jones estimate for 213,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was the highest total since Jan. 27. Continuing claims, which run a week behind, edged lower to 1.79 million, below the FactSet estimate for 1.81 million.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit rose to $68.9 billion in February, up $1.3 billion on the month and higher than the $67.7 billion Dow Jones estimate. That was the highest imbalance on the goods and services measure going back to April 2023.

— Jeff Cox

Thu, Apr 4 2024 8:12 AM EDT

Stocks making the biggest moves before the bell: Levi Strauss, Wayfair and more

A virtual reality app is demonstrated at Wayfair's first store in the Natick Mall in Natick, MA on Aug. 20, 2019. Shoppers can don virtual reality headsets to see how furniture would fit into a space, using Wayfairs Room Planner tool. 

These are the stocks moving the most in premarket trading:

Read the full list of stocks moving here.

— Lisa Kailai Han

Thu, Apr 4 2024 7:30 AM EDT

Planned job cuts hit highest since January 2023

Planned layoffs in March accelerated at their fastest pace in more than a year though the trend to start the year has been lower, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The outplacement firm reported Thursday that announced job cuts for the month totaled 90,309, a 7% increase from February and slightly above the same month a year ago. The monthly total, though, was the highest since January 2023.

However, the first-quarter total of 2024 showed a 5% decline from the same period a year ago as cuts in technology tumbled 59%, media fell 33% and financial sector layoffs declined 6%. Layoffs at transportation firms soared 483% and catapulted 726% higher in industrial goods manufacturing.

—Jeff Cox

Thu, Apr 4 2024 1:15 AM EDT

Japan ex-currency diplomat says no yen intervention unless it drops beyond 155 to the dollar: Reuters

Japan will not intervene in the currency market unless the yen weakens beyond 155 against the U.S. dollar, according to Hiroshi Watanabe, Japan's top currency diplomat from 2004 to 2007.

Reuters reported that Watanabe said the chance of intervention was slim for now, since the yen's declines have been within a broad range unlike in 2022, when the currency was falling more sharply.

He added that while markets are monitoring the 152 level against the greenback, Japanese authorities likely won't see any break above that level alone as a strong enough reason to intervene.

The yen last traded at 151.68 against the dollar.

See Chart...

— Lim Hui Jie, Reuters

Wed, Apr 3 2024 10:27 PM EDT

Oil climbs to highest level since October 2023, gold scales a fresh peak

An oil pumpjack is pictured in the Permian Basin in the Loco Hills regions, New Mexico, on April 6, 2023.

Crude oil prices on Thursday climbed to their highest level since October 2023 on investor concerns about supply disruptions due to conflict in the Middle East.

Brent futures were trading 0.21% higher at $89.53 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate futures were up 0.25% at $85.62 per barrel.

Separately, spot gold hit a fresh high before giving up some gains. It was last trading at $2,300.2 per ounce.

— Lim Hui Jie

Wed, Apr 3 2024 9:22 PM EDT

Beijing issued 'informal instructions' to Syngenta to withdraw $9 billion IPO: Reuters

Chinese authorities had "nudged" Swiss agrichemicals and seeds group Syngenta to withdraw its application for a $9 billion IPO, according to a Reuters report.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters said that this was due to concerns about the impact a sizeable new offering would have on a volatile market.

"The planned flotation finally came unstuck after Syngenta, owned by Sinochem, in March received informal instructions from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to pull its bid for the mega listing," the report said.

Last May, Sygenta filed its application to list in Shanghai and raise 65 billion yuan ($8.98 billion), with its executives saying as recently as November that it planned to list in 2024.

The company announced last week that it was withdrawing its bid to list, "after careful consideration of industry environment and the company's own development strategy."

— Lim Hui Jie, Reuters

Wed, Apr 3 2024 6:50 PM EDT

The S&P energy sector closes at a new record – a first since 2014

The S&P 500's energy sector ended Wednesday with a 0.66% gain, bringing it to a record close for the first time since June 2014.

A cluster of stocks within the category also hit 52-week highs on Wednesday, including ConocoPhillips, Diamondback Energy, pipeline company Kinder Morgan and Marathon Petroleum.

The surge in the energy sector – now up nearly 16% in 2024 – comes as crude oil futures touch their highest levels since last October, rising amid geopolitical tensions and OPEC+ policy.

As the major averages struggle to maintain their first quarter momentum, the energy sector is the leader within the S&P 500, up 2.84% in the second quarter.

-Darla Mercado, Gina Francolla

Wed, Apr 3 2024 6:42 PM EDT

Gold, Japanese stocks and U.S. stocks all reaching "escape velocity," one strategist says

Prices for gold, Japanese stocks and U.S. stocks are all reaching "escape velocity," according to Larry Jeddeloh of TIS Group and The Institutional Strategist newsletter.

With gold at all-time highs (at least nominally), "there is no overhead resistance left," Jeddeloh wrote Wednesday. "[C]entral banks all over the world have become heavy buyers of gold...the interest of central banks in holding alternatives to sovereign bonds already exists and it will grow," leaving gold "in orbit." The short-term target for gold may be $2,440-$2,490 an ounce, and $3,000 long term, he wrote.

Similarly, the Nikkei 225 index of Japanese stocks "has broken out to an all-time high and if I apply a measured move analysis to the chart, the long-term target is about 71,000," the strategist wrote. "[I]n time and price this market could go a long way," partly because Japanese stocks are underowned by so many domestic and international investors.

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Nikkei 225 index of Japanese stocks over past 12 months.

Finally, the S&P 500 has also "hit escape velocity," wrote Jeddeloh, who earlier in his career was chief investment strategist at UBS in Zurich. "This is another big cap, liquid market which is on all-time highs, there is no overhead resistance, there is earnings growth, GDP growth, a central bank which is limited in what it can do with interest rate rises, but has a lot of incentive to cut rates. Like Japan, foreign investors do not own enough of SPX," he wrote. At the same time, "U.S. companies operate global franchises, are technology leaders and next-gen technologies are liquid and have name recognition."

— Scott Schnipper

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