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Stocks Settle Higher on Lower Bond Yields and Quarter-End Window Dressing

Barchart - Wed Mar 27, 3:39PM CDT

The S&P 500 Index ($SPX) (SPY) Wednesday closed up +0.86%, the Dow Jones Industrials Index ($DOWI) (DIA) closed up +1.22%, and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) (QQQ) closed up +0.39%. 

Stock indexes on Wednesday finished moderately higher.  Lower T-note yields on Wednesday were supportive of the overall market.  However, Nvidia's -2% slide undercut technology stocks and limited gains in the Nasdaq 100.  End-of-quarter rebalancing and window dressing by stock fund managers underpinned stock prices ahead of Thursday’s last trading day of Q1.  US stocks also had carryover support from a rally in European stocks as the Euro Stoxx 50 Wednesday rose to a new 23-year high. 

US weekly MBA mortgage applications fell -0.7% in the week ended March 22.  The refinancing mortgage sub-index fell -1.6%, and the purchase mortgage sub-index fell -0.2%.  The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage fell -4 bp to 6.93% from 6.97%.

The markets are discounting the chances for a -25 bp rate cut at 15% for the next FOMC meeting on April 30-May 1 and 78% for the following meeting on June 11-12.

Overseas stock markets on Wednesday settled mixed.  The Euro Stoxx 50 climbed to a 23-year high and closed up +0.35%.  China's Shanghai Composite fell to a 3-1/2 week low and closed down -1.26%.  Japan's Nikkei Stock Index closed up +0.90%.

Interest Rates

June 10-year T-notes (ZNM24) on Wednesday closed up +7.5 ticks.  The 10-year T-note yield fell -3.8 bp to 4.194%.  June T-note prices Wednesday moved higher on carryover support from a rally in 10-year German bunds to a 2-week high.  T-notes raced to their highs Wednesday afternoon on solid demand for the Treasury’s $43 billion 7-year T-note auction that was awarded at 4.185%, lower than the 4.193% yield at the 1300 ET bidding deadline and a sign of strong demand.  Strength in stocks Wednesday limited the upside in T-notes. 

European government bond yields today are lower.  The 10-year German bund yield fell -to a 2-week low of 2.288% and finished down -5.8 bp at 2.292%.  The 10-year UK gilt yield fell -3.9 bp to 3.932%.

The Eurozone Mar economic confidence index rose +0.8 to 96.3, stronger than expectations of 96.2.

ECB Governing Council member Kazaks said, "Inflation is low and will continue to fall in the whole Eurozone," and June may be a good time for the ECB to begin lowering borrowing costs.

ECB Executive Board member Cipollone said, "If incoming data confirm the scenario foreseen in the March projections, the ECB should stand ready to swiftly dial back its restrictive monetary policy stance."

US Stock Movers

Cintas (CTAS) closed up more than +8% to lead gainers in the Nasdaq 100 after reporting Q3 adjusted EPS of $3.84, better than the consensus of $3.47, and raised guidance on full-year EPS to $14.80-$15.00 from a previous estimate of $14.35-$14.65.

Merck (MRK) closed up more than +4% to lead gainers in the Dow Jones Industrials after its Winrevair drug, a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Marvell Technology (MRVL) closed up more than +5% after Citigroup opened a 30-day upside catalyst on the stock ahead of its AI Investor event next month.

Extra Space Storage (EXR) closed up more than +4% after Barclays initiated coverage on the stock with a recommendation of overweight with a price target of $157.

Medtronic Plc (MDT) closed up more than +3% after the FDA approved its aortic valve replacement system for treating symptomatic severe aortic stenosis.

NCino (NCNO) closed up more than +17% after reporting Q4 adjusted EPS of 21 cents, well above the consensus of 12 cents, and forecast 2025 adjusted EPS of 60 cents-64 cents, stronger than the consensus of 57 cents. 

Novocure Ltd (NVCR) closed up more than +11% after saying a late-stage trial of its drug for treating patients with brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer met its primary endpoint. 

Roivant Sciences Ltd (ROIV) closed up more than +7% after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the company will replace Sunrun in the S&P MidCap 400 effective April 1. 

Arista Networks (ANET) closed down more than -3% to lead losers in the S&P 500 on insider selling after an SEC filing showed President and CEO Ullal sold $6.67 million of shares last Friday.

Nvidia (NVDA) closed down more than -2% on profit-taking, with the stock up more than +86% so far this year. 

Netflix (NFLX) closed down more than -2% after Wedbush cut the stock from its Best Ideas List, saying it will be “much harder” for the company to impress investors this year versus last year.

Salesforce (CRM) closed down more than -1% to lead losers in the Dow Jones Industrials on signs of insider selling after an SEC filing showed CEO Benioff sold $4.59 million of shares on Monday.

Direct Digital Holdings (DRCT) closed down more than -39% after Benchmark Company LLC cut its price target on the stock to $23 from $30.

Cybersecurity stocks retreated Wednesday on profit-taking after their recent rally.  Crowdstrike Holdings (CRWD) closed down more than -2%.  Also, Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and Zscaler (ZS) closed down more than -1%. 

DraftKings (DKNG) closed down more than -6% after ESPN reported that NCAA President Baker said his organization is working on banning prop bets on college athletes across betting markets. 

FedEx (FDX) closed down -0.32% after BNP Paribas Exane downgraded the stock to underperform from neutral with a price target of $250.

Earnings Reports (3/28/2024)

MSC Industrial Direct Inc (MSM) and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA).

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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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