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Stocks Open Higher After Strong Economic Data Leaves the Federal Reserve in a Difficult Position

September 14, 2023
minute read

U.S. stock markets initiated trading on a positive note on Thursday, buoyed by robust U.S. economic data and heightened anticipation surrounding the debut of Arm Holdings, which is touted as the most eagerly awaited IPO of the year.

Here's the current status of key stock indices:

  • The S&P 500 (SPX) advanced by 18.80 points, or 0.4%, reaching 4,484.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) recorded a gain of 175 points, or 0.5%, rising to 34,745.
  • The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) edged up by 24 points, or 0.2%, reaching 13,840.

In Wednesday's trading session, the S&P 500 concluded with a 6-point, or 0.12%, increase, closing at 4,467. This modest gain followed a day of volatile trading characterized by the release of consumer-price inflation data, which exceeded economists' expectations.

Several significant factors are driving market sentiment on this eventful Thursday:

  1. The European Central Bank's decision to increase interest rates.
  2. A slew of U.S. economic data releases.
  3. The eagerly anticipated IPO of chipmaker Arm, which priced its shares at $51, at the upper end of its targeted range, valuing the company at approximately $52 billion.

Notable among the economic data is a 0.6% rise in sales at U.S. retailers during August, marking the fifth consecutive monthly increase. It's worth noting that this uptick occurred despite a dip in internet store sales following the conclusion of Amazon Day sales, with the majority of the increase attributed to higher gasoline prices.

Additionally, U.S. wholesale prices surged by 0.7% in August, according to the PPI index. This increase was primarily driven by rising energy costs, surpassing the 0.4% rise that economists had anticipated, as reported.

While these latest data releases alleviate some concerns regarding the strength of the U.S. consumer, the August inflation data may prompt the Federal Reserve to consider further interest rate hikes. As Chris Zaccarelli, Chief Investment Officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, noted, "With higher inflation and robust spending, the Fed is in a difficult spot."

Investors are also closely monitoring the debut trading of ARM Holdings, following its IPO pricing at $51 per share, toward the upper end of the anticipated range, establishing a $52 billion valuation for the UK-based chip designer. A well-received ARM listing is anticipated to breathe new life into the IPO market and bolster bullish sentiment more broadly.

Furthermore, the euro experienced a decline alongside German government bond yields subsequent to the European Central Bank's interest rate hike announcement, although indications suggested that further rate hikes would be unlikely. The shared currency (EURUSD) depreciated by 0.4% to $1.07 in recent trade.

These multiple factors are contributing to the evolving dynamics of the financial markets during this eventful trading session.

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Cathy Hills
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Eric Ng
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John Liu
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Cathy Hills
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