Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street drifts as bitcoin bounces again

by BIZ Magazine

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are drifting Wednesday and edging a bit lower from their all-time highs.

The S&P 500 was down 0.1% in midday trading, continuing a quiet and listless run since it set a record last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 69 points, or 0.2%, as of 11 a.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.5% lower a day after pulling within 0.1% of its record set in 2021.

Treasury yields were also holding relatively steady in the bond market after a report said the U.S. economy likely grew a touch slower at the end of 2023 than earlier estimated. The growth was nevertheless still solid, as the economy continues to defy expectations of a recession despite high interest rates meant to bring down inflation.

Nvidia was one of the heaviest weights on the market, dipping 1.4%. It’s been on a breathtaking run as it rides Wall Street’s frenzy around artificial-intelligence technology, which has raised criticism that its price has gone too far, too fast.

It and a small group of other huge stocks have been disproportionately responsible for the S&P 500’s run to records, which is often a concerning signal, according to Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. Broad gains among a wide variety of stocks are typically a more favorable sign that strength can continue.

Bumble tumbled 9.6% after it reported weaker results for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The dating and friend-making app company, which recently revamped its leadership team, also gave a forecast for revenue this upcoming year that fell short of analysts’.

Boston Beer, the company behind Samuel Adams, slid 16.5% after reporting a larger loss than analysts expected. It was hurt by declines for its Truly seltzer.

Urban Outfitters dropped 13.2% after the retailer reported weaker results than expected. The company, which also runs Anthropologie stores, said sales are continuing to weaken at its Urban Outfitters locations.

Helping to limit the market’s losses was eBay, which rose 7.9% after reporting stronger results than analysts expected. Agilent Technologies was another strong force pushing upward on the S&P 500, rising 4.5% after beating forecasts for both profit and revenue.

Coinbase gained 4.9% to continue its strong run as bitcoin’s price keeps rallying. New exchange-traded funds that make investing in bitcoin easier have raised interest in the cryptocurrency, with BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin fund alone quickly growing to $7 billion in assets, for example.

That has helped bitcoin’s price top $61,000 for the first time since 2021. It’s pulling closer to its record of nearly $69,000 after rising more than 40% this year so far.

Beyond Meat soared 47.2% even though it reported much weaker results for the latest quarter than expected. Its revenue was slightly better than forecast after falling less than expected, and it said its profitability will likely increase through 2024.

Axon Enterprise, the company that makes Tasers, body cameras and other equipment, also turned in a better-than-expected profit report, and its stock gained 7.2%. It’s also forecasting growth in revenue of up to 24% this year.

In stock markets abroad, indexes fell across much of Asia and Europe.

Stocks fell 1.9% in Shanghai and 1.5% in Hong Kong. China’s largest private property developer, Country Garden, said Wednesday it’s facing a liquidation petition after failing to repay a term loan facility worth 1.6 billion Hong Kong dollars ($204.5 million). The first hearing in the case is scheduled for May 17.

The move comes after China Evergrande, the world’s most heavily indebted real estate developer, was ordered to undergo liquidation following a failed effort to restructure $300 billion in late January.

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