Nasdaq rises on boost from growth stocks; Fed comments in focus

by Shubham Batra and Shashwat Chauhan

October 2, 2023 at 9:23 AM PDT

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Oct 2 (Reuters) – The Nasdaq rose on Monday, boosted by gains in growth stocks as investors awaited commentary from more Federal Reserve officials and economic data this week to gauge the central bank’s interest-rate path.

Nvidia jumped 2.8% after Goldman Sachs added the chipmaker’s stock to its conviction list, while Tesla was up 0.5% after falling as much as 3% earlier in the session as it missed market estimates for third-quarter deliveries.

Other megacap stocks including Apple, Meta Platforms, Amazon.com, Alphabet and Microsoft advanced between 0.9% and 1.9%.

Eight of the eleven S&P sub sectors were down, with the utilities index, often considered as a bond proxy, declining 4.9%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, while participating in a community roundtable discussion, did not comment on current monetary policy or the economic outlook in his brief opening remarks.

Meanwhile, Fed Governor Michelle Bowman said she remains willing to support another increase in the central bank’s policy interest rate at a future meeting if incoming data shows progress on inflation is stalling or proceeding too slowly.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will also speak later in the day.

Stocks got some boost after U.S. manufacturing took a step further towards a recovery in September as production picked up and employment rebounded, according to a survey that also showed prices paid for inputs by factories falling considerably.

“Overall, U.S. manufacturing appears to be over the worst, but the outlook remain muted – particularly given the softness of global conditions,” Paul Ashworth, chief North America economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

Traders’ bets on the benchmark rate remained unchanged for November and December stood at nearly 69% and 55%, respectively, according to CME’s FedWatch tool, while they have priced in a 25-basis-point rate cut as early as March.

Yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to its highest since 2007 at 4.689%, while the yield on the two-year note, which best reflects interest rate expectations, remained above 5%.

Investors will closely monitor a bunch of labor market data leading to the crucial monthly jobs report at the end of the week for more clues on the Fed’s interest-rate path.

Markets also cheered that Congress on Saturday passed a stopgap funding bill with overwhelming Democratic support after Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed down from an earlier demand by his party’s hardliners for a partisan bill.

At 11:59 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 186.11 points, or 0.56%, at 33,321.39, the S&P 500 was down 14.63 points, or 0.34%, at 4,273.42, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 47.20 points, or 0.36%, at 13,266.53.

Viatris added 3.1% after the drugmaker on Sunday said it had reached agreements to divest some of its businesses for up to $3.6 billion.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 4.02-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 2.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded two new 52-week highs and 48 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 19 new highs and 211 new lows. (Reporting by Shubham Batra and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Maju Samuel)

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