Stock Market Navigates Minor Downturn But Eyes Weekly Gains Amid Retail and Oil Price Shifts

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Stocks experienced a slight downturn in the final hour of morning trading on Friday, but were still on course for a weekly gain. This shift comes as Wall Street reflects on retail updates and declines in oil prices, amidst indications of a slowing economy.

The S&P 500 edged down by 0.02%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 0.03%, approximately 11 points. The Nasdaq Composite experienced a minor fall of 0.1%.

Despite these minor decreases, all three major US indexes are likely to end the week positively, buoyed by a strong midweek surge. This rally was driven by growing belief that the Federal Reserve might relax its interest rate hikes, following cooler inflation figures and softer jobs data. These developments are seen as evidence of the central bank’s monetary tightening impacting the US economy.

Retail updates also suggest similar trends. Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) issued a grim holiday sales forecast in its recent earnings report, joining Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) in predicting a dip in consumer spending during the crucial holiday shopping period.

In the commodities market, oil prices also pointed towards an economic slowdown, entering a bear market just before the upcoming OPEC+ meeting. West Texas Intermediate crude saw a 3% rise on Friday, and Brent crude futures advanced by 3.1%. However, both are set for a weekly loss, having reached their lowest levels in nearly four months.

Additionally, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) drew attention with its decision to cancel the spin-off of its cloud division. This move, which the company attributed to recent US chip restrictions, underscored ongoing tensions in US-China relations. This was further highlighted by the lack of significant outcomes from a recent meeting between the presidents of the two countries. Alibaba’s shares fell sharply in New York, erasing over $20 billion in market value.

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