Stock Market Update: Wall Street Takes a Pause After Best Trading Month of the Year

Wall Street

On Friday, Wall Street exhibited a mixed performance following the conclusion of its most robust month of the year. Futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% before the opening bell, while futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained nearly unchanged.

Throughout November, markets experienced a steady upward trajectory as investors gained optimism that the Federal Reserve had completed its series of interest rate hikes in its efforts to manage inflation. Recent economic indicators have supported this sentiment.

The Fed’s favored inflation gauge revealed a slowdown last month, leading to a surge in the markets during the final hours of Thursday’s trading session.

The Federal Reserve’s assertive approach to raising interest rates has elevated its benchmark rate from near zero in 2022 to the highest level in two decades by mid-2023. The objective has been to bring inflation back to the Fed’s target rate of 2%.

Wall Street is speculating that the central bank will maintain interest rates at the December meeting and potentially entertain rate cuts in early 2024.

Recent data on economic growth and consumer confidence further suggest that the Fed could achieve a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy, slowing it down without inducing a recession.

In early trading on Friday, Pfizer saw a 4.6% decline after announcing that a new oral weight loss drug, which had shown significant reductions in body weight, would not advance to phase 3 studies due to side effects. Tesla shares slipped 2.2% following the delivery of a dozen long-delayed Cybertrucks.

In Europe, the DAX in Germany and the CAC 40 in Paris each gained 0.7%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 rose by 0.6%.

Asian trading saw Hong Kong’s Hang Seng drop 1.2% to a one-year low, while the Shanghai Composite index inched up 0.1%. A private sector survey revealed unexpected expansion in Chinese manufacturing activity in November.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index dipped 17 points lower after a private-sector survey indicated a contraction in Japan’s manufacturing in November. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.2%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 0.2%, India’s Sensex gained 0.8%, and Bangkok’s SET was 0.1% lower.

The 10-year Treasury yield, influencing mortgage rates, remained steady at 4.34% early Friday.

In commodities, U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 10 cents to $75.86 a barrel, while Brent crude, the international standard, shed 15 cents to $80.71 a barrel.

In currency markets, the dollar inched up to 148.25 Japanese yen from 148.20 yen, and the euro fell to $1.0876 from $1.0890.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.4%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.5%, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 0.2%. All three indexes posted solid gains for the month of November.

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About the author: Stephanie Bedard-Chateauneuf has over six years of experience writing financial content for various websites. Over the years, Stephanie has covered various industries, with a primary focus on tech stocks, consumer stocks, health stocks, and personal finance. This stock lover likes to invest for the long-term. Stephanie has an MBA in finance.