US stocks experienced a downturn on Tuesday, signaling a cautious beginning to 2024 following a year that nearly saw the S&P 500 set a new record high.
The S&P 500 witnessed a decline of approximately 0.6%, diverging from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which managed a marginal rise. The Nasdaq Composite, predominantly driven by tech stocks, saw a more significant drop, losing about 1.6%.
This pullback comes after a robust two-month rally that propelled major indexes to strong annual gains in 2023. The S&P 500, in particular, achieved its ninth consecutive weekly victory, a feat not seen since 2004, and was on the cusp of surpassing its highest-ever closing peak of 4,796.56.
The technology sector faced headwinds as Barclays analysts downgraded Apple, expressing concerns over the demand for its latest iPhone models. Apple’s shares (NASDAQ:AAPL) responded with a near 4% decline, contributing to the broader tech sector’s slump.
Market sentiments could face further tests with key economic updates due this week, including the much-anticipated December jobs report. This report is expected to influence the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, with investors speculating about the pace and depth of potential interest rate cuts in 2024.
In other market developments, oil prices saw an uptick in response to geopolitical tensions. Iran’s deployment of a warship to the Red Sea, a countermove to the US Navy’s recent actions against Houthi vessels, heightened concerns. This situation pushed West Texas Intermediate crude and Brent crude futures to climb over 1%.
In the cryptocurrency domain, Bitcoin displayed a notable surge, increasing nearly 3% to cross the $45,000 mark for the first time since early 2022. This rise is fueled by growing optimism that the SEC might soon greenlight a spot bitcoin ETF.
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