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Stocks Higher After FOMC Meeting Results

Barchart - Wed Mar 20, 10:06AM CDT

The S&P 500 Index ($SPX) (SPY) is up +0.63%, the Dow Jones Industrials Index ($DOWI) (DIA) is up +0.73%, and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) (QQQ) is up +0.94%. 

The Federal Reserve decided to hold interest rates steady, with the federal funds rate at 5.25%-5.50%, as most economists predicted. They still plan to cut rates three times this year, according to their latest announcement.

On the negative side for stocks, Signet Jewelers Ltd is down more than -11% after reporting Q4 sales below consensus and forecasting weaker-than-expected 2025 total sales. Also, after Hindenburg Research said it had shorted Equinix, real estate investment trust stocks are sliding today.

On the positive side, Chipotle Mexican Grill is up more than +6% after its board approved a 50-for-1 stock split.  Also, General Mills is up more than +2% after reporting stronger-than-expected Q3 net sales. 

US weekly MBA mortgage applications fell -1.6% in the week ended March 15.  The purchase mortgage sub-index fell -1.2%, and the refinancing sub-index fell -2.5%.  The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose +13 bp to 6.97% from 6.84% in the prior week.

Overseas stock markets today are mixed.  The Euro Stoxx 50 is down -0.14%.  China's Shanghai Composite closed up +0.55%.  Japan's Nikkei Stock Index was closed for the Vernal Equinox Day holiday.

Interest Rates

June 10-year T-notes (ZNM24) are up +2 ticks.  The 10-year T-note yield is down -0.8 bp to 4.285%. June T-notes this morning are modestly higher, underpinned by strength in European government bonds.  Also, some mild short-covering is boosting T-notes ahead of the Fed rate decision and Fed Chair Powell’s comments later this afternoon. 

European government bond yields today are lower.  The 10-year German bund yield is down -1.7 bp to 2.433%. The 10-year UK gilt yield is down -3.7 bp to 4.020%.

German Feb PPI fell -0.4% m/m and -4.1% y/y, weaker than expectations of -0.1% m/m and -3.8% y/y.

ECB President Lagarde said the ECB can't commit to further reductions in borrowing costs after a likely first rate cut in June, and "even after the first rate cut, we cannot pre-commit to a particular rate path."

US Stock Movers

Equinix (EQIX) is down more than -4% to lead losers in the S&P 500 after Hindenburg Research said it is short the stock. Other real estate trust stocks also moved lower on the news, with VICI Properties (VICI), Digital Realty Trust (DLR), and Crown Castle (CCI) down more than -1%. 

Moderna (MRNA) is down more than -3% to lead losers in the Nasdaq 100 on signs of insider selling after an SEC filing showed company president Hoge sold $1.55 million shares last Friday. 

Super Micro Computer (SMCI) is down more than -3% after offering 2 million shares of its stock at $875 via Goldman Sachs. 

Nasdaq (NDAQ) is down more than -2% after holder Borse Dubai Ltd offered 27 million shares of the stock between $58 and $60 a share. 

Energy producers and energy service providers are under pressure today, with WTI crude prices falling more than -1%.  As a result, Chevron (CVX) is down more than -1% to lead losers in the Dow Jones Industrials.  Also, APA Corp (APA), Hess Corp (HES), Haliburton (HAL), and Diamondback Energy (FANG) are down more than -1%.   

Signet Jewelers Ltd (SIG) is down more than -11% after reporting Q4 sales of $2.50 billion, below the consensus of $2.55 billion, and forecasting 2025 total sales of $6.66 billion-$7.02 billion, weaker than the consensus of $7.17 billion.

Amcor Plc (AMCR) is down more than -2% after CEO Delia said he is retiring on April 15 for health reasons. 

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) is up more than +6% to lead gainers in the S&P 500 after its board approved a 50-for-1 stock split. 

FMC Corp (FMC) is up more than +4% after UBS upgraded the stock to buy from neutral with a price target of $84. 

Mobileye (MBLY) is up more than +5% on news that Volkswagen is deepening its partnership with the company to develop automated driving functions.

General Mills (GIS) is up more than +2% after reporting Q3 net sales of $5.10 billion, stronger than the consensus of $4.99 billion. 

CarMax (KMX) is up more than +2% after Needham upgraded the stock to buy from hold with a price target of $99.

American Airlines (AAL) is up more than +2% after UBS initiated coverage of the stock with a recommendation of buy with a price target of $19.

PDD Holdings (PDD) is up more than +1% after reporting Q4 revenue of 88.9 billion yuan ($12.4 billion), well above the consensus of 79.9 billion yuan. 

Earnings Reports (3/20/2024)

Five Below Inc (FIVE), General Mills Inc (GIS), Micron Technology Inc (MU), NET Lease Office Properties (NLOP), and Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holding (OLLI).



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On the date of publication, Rich Asplund did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.

Provided Content: Content provided by Barchart. The Globe and Mail was not involved, and material was not reviewed prior to publication.

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